This week’s guide of what to watch on Shudder features Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral, zombie sequel [Rec] 2, and Dark Skies…
What to Watch on Shudder: Antiviral
Brandon Cronenberg carries on his father David’s tradition of science fiction/body horror with Antiviral. At times uncomfortable viewing, the film nevertheless compels. Antiviral is about the employee of a clinic which sells injections of viruses harvested from celebrities to their obsessed fans. The premise of the film is fantastic, and so is some celebrity worship to the extreme with an interesting and unusual tangent. The theme and imagery create a distinctive atmosphere. Clinical and dystopian, there is nothing about the film that feels comfortable. Yet it is a great watch. Read a full review of Antiviral here.
What to Watch on Shudder: [Rec] 2
Sequels can be a mixed bag, but [Rec] 2 is certainly one of the better ones. The film picks up straight after the events of the first film, and focuses on a SWAT team and doctor who are sent in the building to retrieve blood samples. The film gives hints to the cause of the outbreak, and offers tension, gore and some great scares. The film is a must-see for fans of the first film, and indeed the zombie sub-genre generally.
What to Watch on Shudder: Dark Skies
Given the premise and advertising, it would be forgivable to think Dark Skies is a homage or a rip off of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Yet the film takes a different tangent. The film is about a suburban family whose lives are disrupted by a series of strange events. Scott Stewart’s film combines science fiction and horror. The film is a little generic; at times it feels as if it could be an episode from The Twilight Zone. Nevertheless, there are a few good scares, and a decent atmosphere prevails. Dark Skies stars Keri Russell and J.K. Simmons.
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Brandon Cronenberg carries on his father David’s tradition of science fiction/body horror with Antiviral. At times uncomfortable viewing, the film nevertheless compels.
Syd Marsh works in a clinic which sells injections of viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Syd also supplies vials of these to pirate groups, smuggling out the infections in his own body. When he becomes infected with the virus that has debilitated superstar Hannah Geist, Syd becomes a wanted commodity…
The premise of Antiviral, which was written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, is great. The film takes celebrity worship to the extreme with an interesting and unusual tangent. The film does not seek to make a strong point or complex allegory with its theme. There is no deeper ponderance on celebrity culture than what is on the surface. However, this does not matter as Antiviral in finely executed.
Antiviral works as a science fiction/body horror piece. Taking cues from his father, Brandon Cronenberg has created an uneasiness that is protracted. The theme and imagery create a distinctive atmosphere. Clinical and dystopian, there is nothing about the film that feels comfortable. The at direction is a powerful force in Antiviral. The imagery displayed is sometimes difficult to look at. The film combines the visceral with the clinical. Cronenberg’s film is certainly not recommended for those with a fear of needles.
Casting in the film is on point. Caleb Landry Jones appears completely authentic as protagonist Syd March. He really does look sick as the film progresses, which is also thanks to the make up and effects. Sarah Gadon looks every inch the celebrity as the much desired Hannah Geist.
Antiviral is a promising debut feature from Brandon Cronenberg. Fans of his father’s work should approve.
Antiviral is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2012.
The BFI London Film Festival’s full programme was announced on Wednesday 5th September. This year, the festival is slightly shorter (twelve days instead of fourteen), but screenings will take place at more venues around London. Prior to the launch, it was announced that Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie would open the festival, and the new adaptation of Great Expectations would close it.
There are not many surprises in the programme. One change to this years proceedings is the dividing of films into new categories such as ‘Love’ and ‘Thrill’. I’m not sure exactly how this will pan out for films more difficult to define. The gala screenings offer some anticipated films, such as Ben Affleck’s Argo and Hyde Park on Hudson, starring Bill Murray. Documentaries that look interesting include The Central Park Five, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, and Love, Marilyn. Also to look out for are Seven Psychopaths, Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time, Antiviral and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
The BFI London Film Festival runs from 10 – 21 October 2012.