Fans of David Cronenberg regularly bemoan the director’s shift away from his weirder, wilder work of yore, but as a consolation, some comfort can still be found in recent films such as Splice, Beyond the Black Rainbow and Antiviral (directed by his son Brandon) – all which are, in one way or another, indebted to the clinical aesthetics and bio-horror ideas of the Canadian auteur’s early work. The latest to fall into this camp is Aussie filmmaker Eron Sheean’s debut feature Errors of the Human Body, a chilly, engrossing, atmospheric tale of genetic disorders, paranoid scientists and experimental mishaps developed during his residency at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, where it was also – rather beautifully – shot.
The focus of the screenplay, written by Sheean and Shane Danielsen, is narrow, limited to a few characters, but its implications are large enough that it’s not hard to imagine this being the origin story to a bigger viral outbreak thriller. While the film treads a familiar arc – a scientist’s psychological meltdown – it benefits from a riveting lead performance by the piercing-eyed Michael Eklund (The Divide), who brings a brooding, destructive impulsiveness to his geneticist Geoff Burton. It’s laudable too that Sheean has taken time to address scientific processes and its politics of collaboration, funding and recognition, giving Errors of the Human Body a welcome patina of credence, even when it obviously panders to expected genre elements (clandestine operations, squirmy prosthetics, romantic obsession).
‘Errors of the Human Body’ Movie Times