Trypophobic Posession is a 2024 Spanish splatter horror short film, written and directed by Mikel Balerdi. Known for his contemporary, boundary-pushing artwork and films, Mikel is best known as the writer/director of the splatter horror films The Girl with the Cutter (2020), Larva Mental (2021), and its prequel Crisalida (2023).

A young woman begins to develop a bizarre condition where clusters of holes begin to form on her skin, thus beginning a dark descent into madness and degradation.

 

Similar to Mikel’s other work, Trypophobic Posession repudiates the traditional narrative process of conventional cinema to deliver an atypical, artistic vision of suffering. Featuring little narrative to speak of, the film’s visual structure becomes an incredibly important aspect for progressionto which, the film performs commendably. Providing a proficient level of cinematography throughout, the multitude of establishing shots dispense an adept, environmental storytelling to provide what few details are necessary to discern.

Furthermore, the claustrophobic and tight close-up shots implemented not only do an amazing job at displaying the incredibly pragmatic effects portraying this uneasy trypophobic skin condition but also hyper-fixates on their lingering screen time–providing an inescapable depiction of this graphic new visual phobia sweeping the internet. All created by the film’s star, Cory DeAn Cowly, the practical effects undoubtedly fulfill their intended stomach-churning authenticity. Moreover, with the introduction of live insects into the mix, such as earthworms, maggots, etc., this general unease is soon compounded into unrelenting disgust and repulsion.

 

Accompanying these intense scenes of grizzly gore is an overcharged, disconcerting score, further compounding their uncomfortable nature. Featuring a mix of low-tonal drones, heavy industrial noise, and eerie music-box chimes, the hypnotically disturbing audio is a perfect escort to the film’s vehement visuals–delivering an inescapably anarchic roller coaster of carnage. Additionally, with the implementation of live insects comes an exaggerated, visceral squelching, reverberating a deep-seated disgust I wasn’t even aware I had. The removal of maggots from these trypophobic clusters, while twinned with the audio of the film, creates a cacophonous apprehensiveness throughout.

However, a noticeable problem throughout the short is the lack of artificial stage lights. While Trypophobic Posession is well-lit and easy to distinguish what’s on screen, both the camera and crew cast a noticeable shadow during some scenes—mostly caused by the lighting being provided by a large overhead light directly behind the cameraman. Although this is hardly an impediment to the film’s extreme nature or effect on its audience, it’s a noticeable blip that solidifies the film’s tiny budget.

 

Whilst carrying a one-person production can be a difficult task, Cory proficiently maintains the pacing through the entirety of Trypophobic Posession’s short runtime. Her naturalistic portrayal of panic, desperation, and mania, unquestionably propels the entire production. Along with several roles in projects currently under production, such as TetroVideo’s XXX Darknet: Red Lips, the extreme art group White Gardenia’s upcoming project The King James Bible, as well as directing and staring in 6 Songs, Cory is certainly beginning to make noticeable waves in the extreme cinema scene.

Another exploration of Mikel’s uniquely grotesque artwork along with Cory’s incredible special effects, Trypophobic Posession is a short yet vivid subsidence into a new and relatively unexplored aspect of body horror that certainly has a lasting impact on the psyche. Although the film may have little to no narrative to follow, it is an excellent example of practical special effects and film creation on a budget that makes for some intense viewing. With its incredibly nauseating visuals, riveting performance from Cory, and discombobulating score, the film will not be for everyone; but if you have the stomach for it (or a love for body horror) you are sure to procure some discomforted enjoyment.

Trypophobic Posession (2024) is available to purchase on a 2-Disc Blu-ray Mediabook Edition from TetroVideo’s Website here.

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