ANTIVIRAL (2012) Reviews and overview

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Antiviral is a 2012 Canadian horror film directed by Brandon Cronenberg.

Brandon Cronenberg is the son of David Cronenberg, and many critics have compared Antiviral to the body horror and infection-fixated early works of his father.

The film follows Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones), a man who works for a company that harvests diseases from celebrities and then injects them into paying clients. It also stars Malcolm McDowell.



Cronenberg has stated that the genesis of the film was a viral infection he once had. It was further shaped when he saw an interview Sarah Michelle Gellar did on Jimmy Kimmel Live!; what struck him was when “she said she was sick and if she sneezed she’d infect the whole audience, and everyone just started cheering.”

Antiviral is a tough, almost willfully difficult movie, but it’s fascinating more often than it is dramatically off-putting, and yes, it does offer some of the rough-hewn, brightly-lit, matter-of-fact bio-horror that the genre fans have come to expect from the name Cronenberg.” FEARnet

“I respect Antiviral, but I can’t say I liked it. But then again, I’m not sure it wants to be liked. In fact, I believe it’s trying very hard to make you not like it.” Fangoria


The film competed in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Cronenberg re-edited the film after the festival to make it tighter, trimming it by nearly six minutes. The revised version was first shown at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

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