It is clear that unsettling preoccupations run in the Cronenberg family. David Cronenberg, perhaps Canada’s most notorious film director, has shocked and fascinated us for decades with the likes of Scanners, Videodrome, Crash, and A History Of Violence. He also enjoys the odd turn in front of the camera, most notably as the horrifying Dr. Decker in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.
With his new film Cosmopolis opening in days, it must do the elder Cronenberg proud that his son, Brandon Cronenberg, is blazing a bold cinematic trail of his own. Young Mr. Cronenberg has recently become the subject of buzz for his debut feature film, Antiviral, which seared through the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and has been graced with a new trailer to announce its wider release.
Antiviral appears to be a dour new specimen of body horror, a mainstay of 1980s allegory and satire. Nowadays this particular subgenre is mostly in the questionable care of directors like Takashi Miike, Tom Six, and Eli Roth. If you do not know these names, you probably do not want to see their movies.
Cronenberg’s apparent target is the cult of celebrity – a cultural obsession with fame and privilege that reaches extremely unhealthy levels. As ravenously as we seek to expose and share the intimate lives of the world’s luminaries, is it so far-fetched that we might someday want to contract their diseases?
*Sensitive viewers, this trailer may not be for you. Proceed with caution.
Brandon Cronenberg must already be weary of critical comparisons to his father’s body of work. Nonetheless, a certain similarity of tone is hard to miss. A new generation of Cronenberg is what many of us would like to see, complete with the old energy that brought us movies like The Brood and The Fly.
Perhaps we can all hold our tongues just a little, until Cronenberg has had a chance to demonstrate his own sense of style. In all fairness, we should wait to continue likening him to his dad until he has made two or three features. We won’t of course, but as long as the story holds up, this looks like one hell of a promising debut. The trailer alone is one of the scariest things to rear its head in a long time.