Antiviral is a legitimate horror film: it manifests scares from its dystopic world, its characters are compellingly creepy and beguiling, and Cronenberg’s direction demonstrates a talent for creating claustrophobic, bloody scenes. The film centers on a man working for the Lucas Clinic, which effectively fills people’s desires to become closer with celebrities that they obsess over. Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones), one of the lab workers, begins experimenting with some of these viruses, and starts to grow infatuated with one of their obsessions, Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon). Comments on celebrities and their image abound, some effectively quiet, others bashing us over the head. The film grows repetitive near its conclusion, not necessarily running too long but creating too much plot for its own good. It’s consistently creepy, never dull despite building at a slow, methodical pace; there’s a reminder here that horror can come from showing very little and making us create most of our own scares. Antiviral is a promising debut for what is sure to be a young talent following in the steps of his father.
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