Friday has come again my demonic devotees, I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s look at one of my fiendish faves, Lucky McKee. What’s that they say? Oh yes, that was then and this is now, and now is the time for something a little different. Today we discuss a little case of like father, like Son.
I say it often, Netflix needs a genre category called WTF did I just watch?! And truthfully, just about every flick crafted by strange and surreal Director David Cronenberg would fall into that category. Now his Son follows in his footsteps with his newest film, Antiviral. Written and Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, Antiviral is a dark dystopian look at a future that seems torn straight from the pages of Transmetropolitan. From lost sheep looking for a connection, right down to celebrity long pig.
Caleb Landry Jones plays film lead, Syd March, who works for the Lucas Clinic by day; peddling celebrity viruses to the masses to let them feel closer to the stars, and by night Syd smuggles out samples to be sold on the black market. To pilfer the pestilence, he injects himself with small amounts of the celebrity’s sickness, taking the ill begotten illnesses into his body, and all the symptoms of said diseases. This is a lucrative exchange, until he steals something his system can’t quite shake. A mystery disease from dying Starlet Hannah Geist, the most coveted host that unhealthy Hollywood has to offer. Syd struggles to find a cure for the designer disease that may land him in a body bag, while dodging deranged devotees of the decaying diva.
This flick plays on some interesting ideas. In a world of fanatics getting plastic surgery to look like their idols, how far would some go to feel like they do? I don’t use the term underrated very often, but this flick is just that. If released under Cronenberg Senior’s name, I have no doubt that it would have been met with much higher reviews. Having the pacing of David’s work, disturbing imagery and the themes of a broken collective psyche that is bent on destruction, but a much less abstract take on the dystopian concept. Where his Father’s flicks, like eXistenZ, often come off as outlandish, Antiviral comes off as extreme, but believable.
Playing along side of Caleb Landry Jones are Sarah Gadon (Amazing Spiderman 2), and cult movie veteran Malcolm McDowell, in this futuristic film noir. Jones suffers believably through out, no doubt drawing on personal experience, being an obvious sufferer of bitchy resting face. (If you don’t know the condition, youtube has you covered) A tragic social illness afflicting sorority girls and male models the world over. Joking aside, to making a movie like this work, you need good actors. This film does works.
So my fellow movie malcontents, are you down with the sickness?