ANTIVIRAL is a strange, surreal beast. The debut feature from Brandon Cronenberg is a clinical, frightening sci-fi tale of achieving something kindred with those we admire, through illness.
Set in a future that finds celebrity culture at its sickening peak, the film follows “Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) who works at the Lucas Clinic, which has an unusual and highly profitable line of business: deliberately infecting paying customers with diseases harvested from top celebrities, thus providing a “biological communion” between stars and fans.”
“Though his work environment is tightly monitored, Syd manages to sneak viruses out of the office and retool them on his personal console for his lucrative sideline supplying the black-market disease trade. When Syd is tasked by his employer to collect a virus from starlet Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon), he is unable to resist the temptation to get closer to one of his own personal celebrity obsessions. Injecting the virus into his own bloodstream, Syd is launched down a dangerous path—and the stakes are raised even higher when he learns that Hannah’s illness is potentially fatal.”
The journey Syd finds himself on is an often dizzying, original one that certainly recalls the best of the director’s father’s work, and introduces a stylistic new voice interested in going way-out places. For more on the film, read Chris Alexander’s review and look out for Fango #323 (on sale next month) for an exclusive talk with Cronenberg. ANTIVIRAL hits VOD and limited theatrical release April 12, 2013
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