‘Antiviral’ Review


“Antiviral” is worth seeing, though it’s too cold, distant and clinical to be called enjoyable.”

I really want to believe that that “Antiviral” had something to say about the nature of fame, and its costs.

But, as the saying goes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

The film, the first by Brandon Cronenberg (the son of David Cronenberg) is visually interesting, and reminds me what a horror movie would look like if the production design were by Jony Ive (all white, clean and extremely sleek).

As I said, I wanted to believe that it was trying to say something profound or at least interesting, but the harder I looked, the less I saw.

What’s interesting is that it’s not a particularly violent film, though it is particularly repugnant at times, with the insertion of various objects – such as syringes – into places they don’t traditionally go.

Not without a fight, at any rate.

The movie revolves around Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) and his unusual line of work.

March is a salesman – of sorts – who works at The Lucas Clinic, where they tailor various forms of sickness – viruses (including herpes), influenzas and other afflictions – which they purchase from the famous and well-to-do, and sell, in an effort to bring ordinary people closer to the stars they admire.

It’s an interesting take, though as health-conscious as many people are these days, I don’t imagine that such a clinic would be as successful – and as mainstream – as it appears to be here.

March, unbeknown to his employers, operates his own black-market operation, which he smuggles from work (and other places) by injecting himself.

Essentially making him a human incubator for disease, which as a healthy person, is generally a mild inconvenience for him.

But what if he injected himself with something that he wasn’t aware of the properties of?

Something that was eventually fatal.

The idea of sickness, and sickliness, permeates the film.  The lighting, by Karim Hussain, washes out flesh tones, making virtually everyone look vaguely ill.  The production design, by Avinder Grewal, does the same, rendering spaces as sterile as the people appear.

The music, by E.C. Woodley, has an ambient quality that gets across shifts in emotion and mood, though does so subtly, as if Cronenberg didn’t want anything in his film that achieved anything more than a facsimile of life.

“Antivirus” is in its way a fascinating film, but reveals a world no one would want to spend any appreciable length of time in.


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