Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)

A young woman left her family for an unspecified reason. The husband determines to find out the truth and starts following his wife. At first, he suspects that a man is involved. But gradually, he finds out more and more strange behaviors and bizarre incidents that indicate something more than a possessed love affair.

Of the few Horror films I’ve seen there are not many that I can say they are overlooked or less known. But one of the films that left an indelible mark is Polish director Andrzej Zulawski’s masterpiece. Exploring the same streets as Roman Polanski with his Repulsion, The Tenant and Rosemary’s Baby, Possession  is a virulent psycho-sexual horror story of the 20th Century. With Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill as the central characters, we enter in one of the most unique films to ever have been filmed.

The bleak cinematography and the superb presence of Isabelle Adjani in a double role with Sam Neill as her husband is quite something. Often read as a metaphor on divorce and how the man sees and projects his perception of his wife and the other side how the wife dooms her marriage with her new lover, Possession  is easily one of the finest Horror films to ever fuck with our minds. I remember seeing this films at fifteen years old and being left with a weird impression of disturbing imagery and unexpected story.

The whole movie has an European feeling to it and the dark and grey colors give a glaucous aura to the characters portrayed. Possession is the only film from director Zulawski I ever saw and I always wondered if he was the case of a one hit wonder director. None of his other work seem to be as interesting or well received as the lesser known Horror movie.

When I first saw it, the channel it was aired on showed Polanski’s Repulsion in the same week. Both are very disturbing films while being excellent in the frights and in their second degree of reading. Personally, I would rank Possession a little bit higher than Repulsion because of the extremity of the images and the greater meanings it involves. 


  1. Nice review! Now, if I can only see it. I hope that Netflix eventually gets around to carrying this title, instead of listing it as "availability date unknown." Sigh.

    1. Thank you Barry! I hope you can see it soon! I bet you'll like it!


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