Blu-Ray Review: Antiviral

Published on August 12th, 2013 in: Blu-Ray, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Brad Henderson


How far would people go to be closer to their favorite celebrity? We already know society is obsessed with celebrities, with mimicking their features and hair. Come on, you have seen this: Aniston’s hair, Jolie’s lips, Lopez’s buttocks, and the list keeps going. This is the basis of the story that Brandon Cronenberg follows with Antiviral, but he takes it to the next level.

Brandon Cronenberg (yes, David Cronenberg’s son) delivers a haunting look into the obsession with celebrities and the public and how far people will go to be like their idols.

We start with Syd March, an employee of The Lucas Clinic, which sells the public viruses of their favorite celebrities. A (fictitious) celebrity, Hannah Geist is one of the most sought after in the world. People want to be her, look like her, and want to have the same disease or virus she does. Syd March is one of the people that helps you pick your disease and injects you with it. We find out early on that Syd is injecting himself with the virus but finds out his favorite celebrity is dying so he is slowly dying. He tries to find out what is wrong and maybe a cure for what he has done.

Yes, this film is as weird as it sounds. There is even a meat market that sells “meat” of the celebrities afflicted with diseases. I won’t give anything else away because going into this film without any inclination what to expect is way more fun.

It feels that Brandon Cronenberg grew up only watching his dad’s flicks when he was younger because that is obviously the biggest influence for him on this film. He does stand out and alone with it, though; it doesn’t feel like a rip-off or that he was trying too hard. Brandon simply made a film that is an homage to what I like to call “the horrors mixed with society.” That is what David Cronenberg did as well with Videodrome, They Came From Within, Rabid, The Brood, Scanners, Naked Lunch, and more. You may think those are straight up horror films, but they deal with the human psyche, human norms, and society in general.

Personally, I found Antiviral‘s plot pretty radical, but I feel that it fell a little short in the all-over story. The films punches you right in the beginning with substance, but seems like it just adds more shock for the sake of it and never really wants to advance characters and their emotions or their reasoning, but that actually might be the point of the story itself.

I feel in due time Antiviral will find its audience and after Brandon Cronenberg makes another film or two. I think this was a huge stepping-stone for him and I know his dad is very proud of him. I can’t wait to see what he will conjure up next.

Antiviral was released on Blu-Ray on August 6 through IFC Films.

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