Brandon Cronenberg

Contracting an illness is not something most of us long for. It’s often an unpleasant, uncomfortable, and incapacitating affair to be ill. For the highly-skilled technicians of the Lucas Clinic, disease is their discipline. Turning common cold into commodity, the Lucas Clinic offers fans the unique opportunity to become physically connected to their favorite celebrity by having the diseases of those celebrities injected into their own bodies. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, actual biological material from these stars has been reproduced into slabs of meat that are then devoured by the masses. Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) is one of the clinic’s most accomplished employees, but he’s bitten off a bit more than he can chew…and no, we’re not talking about a broiled pop singer steak. He’s injected himself with a virus from a particularly popular starlet, a virus from which she ends up dying. The clock ticks away as Syd struggles to make sense of her demise before death becomes a common bond between the two of them.

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Brandon Cronenberg

It’s never easy living the shadow of someone else, and especially to follow in the footsteps of greatness. For Brandon Cronenberg, that imposing shadow takes the shape of a giant fly, several killer mutated children, and scores of exploding heads. His father, David Cronenberg is a director beloved by genre film fans the world over. Brandon has made the difficult decision, under those circumstances, to become a filmmaker himself, and has come bursting out of the obscuring darkness with his debut film Antiviral. Though maintaining that the themes and imagery of the movie are not beholden to his father’s work, Antiviral’s plot, involving the consumption of celebrity biological material by obsessed fans, fittingly speaks to a common creative gene within his family that spurs an inclination toward body horror and social commentary. In our few moments with Brandon during Fantastic Fest, we covered everything from the intangible construct of identity, to hulking out, to forgettable David Spade comedies. As horror fans ourselves, it speaks highly of Brandon’s genuine personality and rich intellect that the subject of his father never came up once.

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Antiviral

In Brandon Cronenberg‘s Antiviral, a young man is infected with the same virus that killed a mega-celebrity, and he has to solve the mystery of her demise to save his own skin. Of course, from the looks of the trailer, there are a million other things going on. Our man Simon enjoyed it at Cannes and noted the fairly clear father-son connection between the subject matter and the director’s own famous father. And the connection goes deep. So deep that Max Renn could be the one chasing modernity down the rabbit hole here. Instead of television, like it was with Videodrome, it’s the obsession with celebrity – a fitting new direction for our times. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Being the son of a famous artist can certainly have its drawbacks, and the most pronounced for Brandon “Son of David” Cronenberg will undoubtedly be certain expectations that he will take up his father’s filmmaking tricks and become a great in his own right. Especially difficult for Cronenberg Jr. will be some of his father’s fans’ unwillingness to forget former successes, and perpetually demand that he make Videodrome again, and the inevitability that they might now turn to him for that opportunity. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be such a concern, because based on the experience of Antiviral – included in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes film fest – the son of The Fly director has every intention of following in his father’s oddly-shaped footprints.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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