Canadian auteur David Cronenberg spent most of his career honing an idiosyncratic brand of cinema, label by critics as “body horror.” With films like Videodrome and The Fly, many of Cronenberg’s protagonists found themselves fighting an enemy within their own bodies, and usually with putrid and dire outcomes.
But somewhere after 1999’s eXistenZ, Cronenberg cut ties with the subgenre he nurtured to maturity. In 2012, the mucousy mantle was assumed by Cronenberg’s thirty-something son Brandon Cronenberg – and his debut film Antiviral does not fall far from dad’s rotten tree.
The younger Cronenberg’s film centers on a world where celebrity worship has devolved beyond TMZ and phone hacking. Now, fans want to be injected with the diseases afflicting their favorite stars. Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) works at a clinic which infects paying customers, but he has a lucrative side business of smuggling celebrity diseases out of the clinic in his own body. Oddly enough, this turns out to be a bad – and rather icky – decision.
While Antiviral lacks the pacing and focus of the elder Cronenberg, Brandon definitely has style – and boy, can he gross out an audience. He has a large shadow to step out from, but this midnight movie is a promising start.
Antiviral plays at St. Anthony Main Theater tonight at 11:45 p.m. and on April 25 at 10 p.m.
Other Highlights: Friday, April 19
Persistence of Vision. After the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Warner Bros. gave animator Richard Williams a shot to realize a project he’d worked on for 28 years. But Williams and the studio butt heads, and his dreams start to crumble. Twin Cities documentarian Kevin Schreck will be in attendance. (6:30 p.m.; also showing April 20 at 11 a.m.)
Là-bas: A Criminal Education. Upon invitation by his uncle, a West African migrant worker comes to Naples to pursue his dream of being a sculptor. But his uncle has a more lucrative and dangerous job opportunity in mind. (6:45 p.m.; also showing April 20 at 3 p.m.)
Inch’Allah. The Israel-Palestinian conflict is seen through the eyes of a Canadian obstetrician, working in a U.N. clinic in Ramallah. (7:15 p.m.; also showing April 21 at 3:15 p.m.)
Throughout the entirety of the 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, we’ll be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.