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April 29, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Film Review – Antiviral

Directed by Brandon Cronenberg

Brandon Cronenberg may just be one of the ballsiest men in existence. Son of body-horror master David, whose works include the seminal 1980s cult films Videodrome and The Fly, his debut feature, Antiviral, also turns out to be—you guessed it—a body horror. However, while it displays Brandon Cronenberg’s obvious talent, Antiviral never quite matches up to its more renowned genre-siblings.

The film follows a young man (played by Caleb Landry Jones), never named, who works at a clinic designed to infect their clientele with whatever disease they choose, distilled from the celebrity of their choice. Apparently unaffected by the celebrity-manic dystopia around him, he himself becomes obsessed with one Hannah Geist. This obsession consumes him and causes him to become involved in an attempt on her life.

It’s a big idea, but one that isn’t really pulled off. The story clunks along rather slowly thanks to a selection of lazy narrative devices. Televised news is constantly used as a source of exposition, rather than such information being offered organically within the story. Where the film really succeeds is in its beautifully stark, central composition-heavy aesthetic, aided and abetted by Jones’ alien-boy physicality and excellently visceral performance. The overall effect goes a bit towards a film-school graduate’s kind of self-indulgence, but is saved by some marvellous body horror (though I did wonder if we had to see every single injection in extreme close-up).

Antiviral nonetheless is a solid debut, and Cronenberg could be one to watch once he comes up with a really good script, and maybe does something different to his father.

Verdict: 3.5/5

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  1. Cory says:

    Doesn’t he call himself Sid March a few times?

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