Netflix Gems: Catch a bug with Antiviral
Every day when I wake up, I sit in my bed and wonder which wildly talented celebrity couple is going to name their beautiful new bowel movement “Placenta,” or how much rum that naked child star can actually drink from her butt. More and more celebrity “news” is shoved down our throats by the media each day, and I fucking hate it. How far will we go? Will a line of decency ever present itself? One of the very few good things to come of this unfortunate conundrum however, is Brandon Cronenberg’s film debut.
What’s going on here?
Syd March is a salesman for the Lucas Clinic, a company that specializes in the sale of illnesses; more specifically, the illnesses of celebrities. The inhabitants of the Hollywood-esque dystopia gladly have diseases injected into them in order to feel a closer connection to the celebrities they obsess over. The Lucas Clinic purchases the pathogens from the willing star, and uses a special console to copy-protect it’s unique properties, eradicating the ability to pass it on to other potential consumers. Be it a form of the herpes simplex virus, a strain of the flu, or perhaps a deformity, Syd will ensure your choice will make you feel closer to that unreal being. On the side though, Syd is smuggling illnesses out of the clinic, uses his own home-made console to break the copy protection, and sells them on the underground market. After complications arise within the company, Syd is deemed the man responsible for retrieving the most precious commodity on the market: The Lucas Clinic exclusive, Hannah Geist. After a smooth retrieval of Hannah’s latest sickness, Syd steals some of her blood sample by injecting it into his own bloodstream. Using his body as an incubator, Syd has access to the illness before the Lucas Clinic can copy-protect it. Shortly thereafter, Syd has a rude awakening as things begin to go horrible awry.
Why the hell should I watch this?
Brandon Cronenberg demonstrates in a big way that he is truly his father’s son with this film. His father, David Cronenberg, is known to be the forerunner of body horror and Brandon pays great homage with some beautiful scenes that are certainly reminiscent of Videodrome and Scanners. Antiviral is a giant breath of fresh air for the horror/sci-fi genre. The sterile white aesthetic throughout the flick is incredibly effective, the gore is impeccable, and Cronenberg presents us with some wildly intelligent and disturbing satirical examples of where our declining society could end up in the near future, my favorite being “celebrity cell steaks,”which are celebrity cells cloned and built up into wet, flesh toned edible steaks. Not without flaws, some may find some of the characters to be bland and underdeveloped, but regardless, Caleb Landry Jones does an amazing job with his complex role throughout the entire piece. I am almost too excited to see the potential return of classic body horror, and I am really looking forward to seeing Brandon Cronenberg’s filmography develop further!
If you have a significant other who likes to watch glorified porn-stars get paid to be rich and stupid, then I highly recommend you attempt to drown them in lobster butter; or I guess just sit down with them and watch Antiviral in hopes of scaring away their envy.