Inject some celebrity into your life.

The sci-fi horror feature debut from Brandon - son of David - Cronenberg, winner of Best First Feature at Toronto Film Festival 2012. Syd (Caleb Landry Jones) is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Syd also supplies illegal samples of these viruses to piracy groups, smuggling them from the clinic in his own body. When he becomes infected with the disease that kills superstar Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon), Syd becomes a target for collectors and rabid fans. He must unravel the mystery surrounding her death before he suffers the same fate.

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Flicks Review

Canada is the world capital for cold, cerebral sci-fi – witness the work of David Cronenberg (Rabid, Scanners, eXistenZ) and Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Cypher, Splice). If a film’s concept can be summed up in a snazzy one-word title, even better. Emergent in the field is writer/director Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, whose excellent debut ticks all of the above boxes, and more.... More

Protagonist Caleb Landry Jones, so creepy in The Last Exorcism, is perfectly cast here. His intensity animates the occasionally listless plot, and his pale skin and red hair look striking against the film’s default backdrop – angry burgundy splashed across laboratory white.

Syd (Jones) works for the Lucas Clinic harvesting celebrity diseases, from cold sores to STIs, and selling them to fans. He also supplies them to the black market by smuggling them out of work in his own body. The latter proves particularly unwise when Jones infects himself with a sample from starlet Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon), and ends up sick – and sought after by people even sicker.

Appropriately enough, the idea came to Cronenberg in a fever dream (like fellow Canadian James Cameron’s inspiration for The Terminator), and it’s the concept, not the story, that concerns him most. Such fetishisation of illness may seem disgusting – it certainly is here – but it’s also a plausible next step in an invasive celebrity culture of upskirt shots and kiss-and-tell exposés.

As much a thesis as a thriller, Antiviral is undoubtedly a challenging watch, but it’s helped greatly by beautiful cinematography and music, plus a mordant sense of humour that speaks squarely to cult viewers. On this basis, Cronenberg can expect many more of those, both home and abroad.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

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Found this movie engrossing and clever and have to admit that next time I catch myself sneaking a guilty peek over NW Magazine's cover headlines I'm gonna feel some guilt. This is a movie about obsession with celebrity taken to a very extreme level

The story line is creepy and the main actor does sombre and illness very well. Beautifully shot this is definitely not a movie for the squeamish

The Press Reviews

65% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The movie can be repulsive at times, but Cronenberg is more interested in ideas than in blood and guts. Full Review

  • A smart, subversive but rather cold debut. Full Review

  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, David Cronenberg should be feeling pretty chuffed with son Brandon's big-screen debut, a petri dish of high-concept perversity and cultural commentary teeming with lo-fi ickiness. Full Review

  • If David Cronenberg's entire body of work didn't exist, Antiviral would be a revelation. Full Review

  • If Cronenberg's not yet a dead ringer for his iconic dad, he's taken an intriguing first step. Full Review

  • Eventually the clammy spell of this handsomely designed but solemnly paced movie begins to wear off, and you long for a little action or at least some fresh air. Full Review

  • The whole movie feels like a case of the sweats, putting you in desperate need of the chicken soup of recognizable human behavior. Full Review

  • Accomplished filmmaking from a sci-fi auteur to watch. It's not perfect, but if this is his Shivers we can't wait to see his The Fly. Full Review

  • Antiviral never builds the sort of character investment or narrative momentum that would allow its visceral horrors to seriously disturb. Full Review

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