Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Lisa Berry, Malcolm McDowell
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Syd March is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Biological communion – for a price. Syd also supplies illegal samples of these viruses to piracy groups, smuggling them from the clinic in his own body. When he becomes infected with the disease that kills super sensation Hannah Geist, Syd becomes a target for collectors and rabid fans. He must unravel the mystery surrounding her death before he suffers the same fate.
The best possible way that I can think of to describe ‘Antiviral’ is that it hypnotized me. From the first minutes of the film, I may have been a little bit lost and had to allow a little while in order to find my way into the story, but for some reason the film provides an almost hypnotizing feel and I had my eyes glued to the screen from the opening minute to the final minute. This was a very interesting and beautifully done film that I would most certainly highly recommend.
‘Antiviral’ is the directorial debut from Brandon Cronenberg (son of David Cronenberg) who wrote and directed. Brandon Cronenberg seems to be right at home alongside his father in the world of filmmaking and has created a truly eerie and mesmerizing tale of a future where the world is so obsessed with celebrities that many want the diseases that their favorite celebrities have or had in order to feel closer to them. A number of facilities will provide that service for them at a cost. It is a disturbing and unsettling tale, not due to content, but simply because of the idea and the wonderfully unsettling tone that it presents to the viewer.
The one known actor most will recognize from ‘Antiviral’ is Malcolm McDowell who has a minor role in the film and he does a good job as always in the bit of screen time he is given. The standout performance is certainly that of Caleb Landry Jones who gives a powerful, creepy and unforgettably remarkable performance in the lead role of Syd. Pretty much the entirety of the cast provides adequate and believable performances, but none of them reach the level of Jones who certainly steals the show in my opinion.
‘Antiviral’ is a clever, unsettling and thoroughly intriguing tale focusing on the concept of our cultures obsession with celebrities and just one example of a possible future resulting from that obsession. This is certainly a notable feature debut for Brandon Cronenberg and while this one may not be for everyone, I would certainly recommend giving it a shot. I found it to be quite a fantastic film.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Antiviral is presented in a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. As is usually the case with IFC/MPI titles, the video presentation looks quite impressive. Everything is smooth, detailed and clear. This movie really uses the whites and other bright colors to an extreme which provides the perfect opportunity to notice the detail in the transfer within the solid bright colors often present in the background. Everything about the video transfer looks quite nice and everyone should be pleased.
The Blu-Ray release features an uncompressed 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which really contributes nicely to the overall experience of this film. The music really hits hard and so do the calm subtle noises that are clearly detailed, while never detracting from the audibility of the voices in the center channel. This is a very well done lossless multichannel soundtrack which should leave everyone satisfied.
This title includes a few nice special features on the Blu-Ray release including ‘Commentary with Director Brandon Cronenberg and cinematographer Karim Hussain’ ‘Anatomy of a virus – A Making of Documentary’ ‘Behind The Scenes’ ‘Theatrical Trailer’ and ‘Deleted Scenes with commentary’. While some may notice that the deleted scenes with commentary and a couple of the other features mentioned here are not listed on the rear of the box under the included features, rest assured they are included on the disc.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
‘Antiviral’ is now available to own on Blu-Ray & DVD From IFC Midnight & MPI.