Thursday, 22 August 2013

Canadian Content: Kweeny Reviews Antiviral

I am proud to say Canadians have been making some awesome and fucked up horror movies lately. My recent find was one I stumbled upon on Netflix (because I get the majority of my horror from them) and I was impressed. Antiviral doesn't just have a fucked up premise, but it's beautifully shot, excellently acted, directed by Brandon Cronenberg and was filmed in my home province of Ontario!

This movie is a weird one, and it's a very quiet horror. It doesn't have much of a movie soundtrack, but the music is does have makes an impact. A lot of the shots in this film are slow moving but very focused, so we really pay attention to what is being shown. The use of color is interesting too, as their are lots of scenes with bright, clean white backdrops, so when something like blood is splashed against it, there is a juxtaposition of the sterile vs the primal. While there are some graphic body-horror scenes like skin samples being removed, coughing up blood and other such nastiness, for the most part it's not really gory. the imagery used is carefully picked to make a point. What makes it creepy is the story itself. Imagine a world were celebrities could sell viruses like Herpes to the general public. How about selling your DNA to people who make steaks out of them so people can eat you? Not only that, but the public WANTS to buy them to be that much closer to the stars.

The main character is a man named Syd March (played by Caleb Landry Jones) who works at a clinic that harvests and sells celebrities viruses to sell to the public. His journey takes us through this twisted world of celebrity-obsessed madness. One celebrity becomes a focal point for the film, Hannah Geist (played by Sarah Gadon) and through her we realize just how little power even the celebrities have over their lives, and that in the end, they are just products to be consumed and harvested by the big corporations. Their lives are as meaningless as the lives of the people who purchase the viruses.

And the thing I love best about Antiviral is the questions it brings up. Do we let celebrities get away with too much? Why should we worship them in such a way as to damage ourselves just so we can have a "taste" of them? How happens to the celebrity when we demand them to be more than mere human beings? There is a disturbing message in the film, when Dr. Abendroth (played by Malcolm McDowell) tells Syd the main character that he understands why Syd injected himself with Hannah's blood. He shows Syd a row of patches on his arm and explains to him, "I'm not a spiritual man. The belief in God has always struck me as a sign of dangerous infantilism. But you will forgive me if I tell you-that with each of these patches-my world has become more charged."

I won't give too much more away, because the ending is pretty awesome. I will say if you like quiet horror with some interesting things to say, give this film a shot. It will get under your skin.


  1. I love fucked up horror movies. I'll check this one out. Thanks for posting about it! :)

    1. No problem! I love sharing the neat things I find. :)


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