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Antiviral (2013)

Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Stars: Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Malcolm McDowell, Douglas Smith

Brandon Cronenberg, the son of acclaimed genre filmmaker David Cronenberg, doesn't seem all that interested in people embracing his feature film debut, Antiviral; cold, unwelcoming, and at times emotionally impenetrable, it's a challenging effort from a young director who's clearly inspired by his father's older classics, like Videodrome andThe Fly. Fortunately for Cronenberg, Antiviral just so happens to be formidably directed, ripe with sharp wit, and filled with quite a few visually dazzling moments. As tough as it is to crack, the film is impossible to ignore.

Motivated by our culture's unhealthy obsession with celebrity, Cronenberg' conceives an otherworldly society where doctors, like the intensely creepy Syd March (a marvelous Caleb Landry Jones), treat patients to injections of their favorite famous person's disease of choice; for example, simply by forking over your hard-earned cash, you can feel closer to that desirable Hollywood dream girl by battling through her strand of herpes.

Naturally, that process has dire consequences in Antiviral, especially when March secretly unknowingly indulges in a starlet's (the radiant Sarah Gadon) fatal illness and has to fight through his deteriorating health to find the cure. And that's when Cronenberg really lets his creative freak flags fly.

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