The Daily Stream: Possum Is An Extremely Creepy Horror Movie From The Creator Of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Possum"

Where You Can Stream It: Shudder

The Pitch: Philip, the world's worst children's puppeteer, played by the always-memorable Sean Harris, carries around the world's scariest puppet: a monstrosity that has giant spider legs and a human-like head that looks a lot like Philip's head. Philip has no friends and the only family member in his life is his cruel uncle (Alun Armstrong). Philip's mental state seems to be incredibly fragile, and he eventually decides to get rid of his creepy-ass puppet, which he's named Possum. However, every time Philip tries to ditch Possum, Possum returns home. Philip even tries setting the puppet on fire – only to find it back in his house later, unscathed. In the midst of all of this, a local child has gone missing – a child Philip previously encountered. Just what in the heck is going on here? Something creepy, that's what!

Why It's Essential Viewing

I've seen a lot of horror movies. I grew up on the genre, and I love it with all my heart and soul. Slashers, monsters, slow-burns, body-horror and gross-out stuff, foreign language horror – you name it, I consume it all. The genre is the one that's always appealed to me; the one I felt at home embracing. That said, years and years of horror consumption have made me a little desensitized to horror movies. More often than not, I'm not really scared by scary movies – and I don't blame the movies for that. I blame myself. 

So when a horror movie comes along and actually gives me the creeps, I figure it has to be something special. And that's the case with "Possum," an incredibly unsettling pic that grows more and more disturbing as it goes along. And perhaps the wildest thing about the film is that it comes from Matthew Holness, creator of the hilarious "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace." Holness obviously loves the horror genre – it's that love that makes "Darkplace" so successful – and he channels what he knows into this creepy saga of the loneliest man in the world, puppeteer Philip.

Sean Harris plays Philip, and he's quickly become one of those actors I'm always interested in watching. I first became aware of him when he played the bad guy in "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation." Since then, I've caught him appearing in more and more things, and he's always memorable. Part of his power as a performer comes from his voice – he has a very distinct, somewhat raspy way of speaking, and it immediately makes you focus on his words and how he's delivering them. 

Here, he makes Philip pathetic to the point where it makes us discomfort. We pity him but we're also somewhat disgusted by how wormy Philip often seems. But we also have sympathy, because it's clear Philip has a dark past, and his mean, abusive uncle indicates he didn't have a great family life, either. And then you have Philip's really spooky puppet, Possum. I want to be clear: this isn't a movie about a puppet that comes to life and runs around murdering people. But the puppet is so uniquely weird that any time it appears on screen it'll have you on edge. 

"Possum" is a slow-burn situation; a film with ever-mounting dread, and a prevailing atmosphere of loneliness. The locations are gray, and drab, and make everything look borderline post-apocalyptic. If you're in search of a horror movie that's different than what you might be used to this Halloween season, this is your film.