When you talk about Moon, there’s no reason to point out that Duncan Jones is David Bowie’s son. But when you talk about Antiviral, you can’t very well not point out that Brandon Cronenberg is David Cronenberg’s son. The younger Cronenberg channels his father’s body dysmorphia with scalpel precision, stark insight, and the same dreamy malaise of David Cronenberg’s best movies.
The subject of Antiviral is celebrity obsession, but not in the obvious way. This isn’t a satire, but it makes the same point as satire in the context of futuristic biopunk noir, with disease as a metaphor and McGuffin, with the subject matter being the unlikely intersection of disease and beauty, blemish and perfection. The world it presents is new, imaginative, and unsettling. It’s impossible to get through Antiviral without wincing several times. It’s not gore so much as squick factor, which is far worse than mere gore. I can watch Michael Ironside’s head exploding till the cows come home. But the early simple medical procedure in Antiviral will put you off your lunch. It’s only going to get worse.
Antiviral wouldn’t work without the fascinating Caleb Landry Jones in the lead role. His performance, which consists largely of lurching, is a thing to behold, every bit as integral to Antiviral as Jack Nicholson is to Chinatown.
Antiviral is available on VOD. Support Qt3 by watching it on Amazon.com.