Caught Antiviral last night at the last 35mm screening at one of the local theatres which is now all-digital....
Syd March works as an employee of the Lucas Clinic, one of the leading companies specializing in non-contagious celebrity disease and infections. Here he infects people with the flu, herpes, or whatever the client wants so that they can feel as close to their famous role models as possible. In a world where celebrity is now in the blood stream and consumed by those not famous, Syd is smuggling Hannah Geist viruses, an exclusive to the Lucas Clinic collection, before they hit the market. But when he himself gets infected by a virus that may have killed the infamous Ms. Geist, Syd finds himself caught up in something far more sinister that may cost him his own life.
Brandon Cronenberg emerges as a new force in the body horror cannon perpetuated by his father, and with a style that speaks directly of early David Cronenberg. And here that is not a rip-off but something that's truly in their family blood. Expertly crafted, Antiviral is an increasingly uncomfortable excursion into the disease of celebrity and the price to which society pays for crumbling to idol worship. Narratively vague, Antiviral spills out it's pieces like dumping a puzzle box letting the audience pick up what they see on their own. Nothing is handed to the audience, and if you lose your balance you will not know what the fuck is going on, and here this approach works beautifully; providing the audience the true sense of alienation that it's citizens now feel in their own skin. It's antiseptic colour palette and sheen both intensify it's grotesqueness as well as perpetuate the uncleanness this society has projected upon itself, shot immaculately by cinematographer Karim Hussain. To compare it to his father's work Brandon Cronenberg continues the theme of the new flesh, but here we take from others so that we can feel whole and connected. Haunting and ugly, Antiviral is a meticulously beautiful horror film for those who want to be challenged by cinema.