Fresh Cuts: Possum (2018) (UK)

The specter of childhood trauma casts a long shadow in Matthew Hollness’ (Garth Marenghi himself) unsettling Possum. Following some sort of scandal involving his puppet show, a troubled young man named Philip (Sean Harris who brings his usual gravitas) returns to his childhood home. His faltering mental health further crumbles as old ghosts continue to haunt him and his rancorous stepfather skillfully adds pressure to the fractures running along his mind.

Something’s wrong with Philip

On top of the family and memories eating away at him like a cancer there is the contents of the brown canvas bag Philip carries around with him. Inside the bag is Philip’s arachnid nightmare fuel of a puppet referred to by the name Possum (which has its roots in a troubling poem Philip wrote in his youth). Philip attempts to get rid of this eight legged horror but it seems that it wants none of that. Possum always finds its way home.

Trust me, it’s so much worse

A missing teenage boy ties the present into the past and it begins to look less and less like there’s any hope for poor Philip. A psychological nightmare is given some horrific boosts by its slight leaning towards creature feature terrors. It works well as a study of the fractured psyche because of Sean Harris’ excellent performance and it works even better as a straight up horror flick because of just how terrifying the antagonist is. The dreary settings and almost complete isolation add an apocalyptic feel to everything while the score from Radiophonic Workshop digs in deep and refuses to let go. It’s a film I won’t soon forget. 7/10

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