There’s no doubt about it, David Cronenberg’s films aren’t for everyone. In his 80s/early 90s heyday, his disturbing and distinguished films may not have created the ‘Body Horror’ genre, but they certainly defined it. The Fly, Scanners, The Brood, and the infamous Crash all brought a heretofore unseen psychological depth to splatter, finding new and interesting ways to make people feel all icky inside.
Hardcore Cronenberg fans have been somewhat disappointed by his recent output. A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Spider and A Dangerous Method have all disappointed fans by having a distinct lack of exploding heads and vaginal imagery. Now, however, perhaps those fans’ perverse bloodlust will be satisfied by the latest Cronenberg joint. Except it’s not David who made the forthcoming Antiviral; it’s his son.
There’s no doubt about it, making your directing debut not just in the genre your father specialised in, but the very epoch of the genre that he more or less made his own takes balls, and Brandon Cronenberg is clearly in possession of big ones, hewn from brass. Even the plot smacks of classical Cronenberg: Syd Merch (Caleb Landry-Jones) works for a company who specialise in harvesting diseases from celebrities, and then infecting paying clients with said diseases.
Early festival reviews have veered between joyous and underwhelming, but when it came to the Cronenbergian cinematic output, at least in the early days, it was ever thus. Whether Brandon Cronenberg will make it as a director, it’s too early to say, but as first films go, this certainly a provocative and attention-grabbing one.
Check out the trailer below, whatever the critics say, watching Antiviral promises to be an interesting experience. Currently it has no set release date, so fingers crossed it hits soon.