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Antiviral (2012)

What did I just watch?


I had high hopes for 2012's Antiviral. It sure seemed like an interesting concept, and it seemed that director, Brandon Cronenburg may have been following in his father's footsteps. Sadly, this is more of a mis-step.

Set in the near future, people have the ability to purchase, and contract their favorite celebrities diseases. Syd, a worker for one of the clinics practicing this is dodging the system. Taking risks to sell the product on the black market, and eventually infecting himself with an incurable disease, leading to a bizarre murder mystery. It sounds good satire on today's infatuation with celebrity. It sounds Cronenburgian.

Sadly the direction hits too heavily on the weird, and not enough on the narrative. A hard road to walk, but one Cronenburg Snr. has managed deftly in the past.

Malcolm McDowell / Caleb Landry Jones

Cast largely with younger actors (and McDowell, who let's face it, gets in everywhere) the delivery of the bizarre materials is done pretty well. The special effects are good. I think conceptually it is a solid movie.

It is simply lies at the feet of Cronenburg that the pacing is jarring, and the surreal is laid on so thick that in places the film is hard to follow. The ending is not satisfying. Five years on, and he is yet to release anything further.

I hope he has been fine tuning his art.

This is sadly not for any mainstream audience, and even for myself, a fan of horror, body horror, bizzaro and such, this wasn't for me. It never came across as intentional. Just experimental.

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