In the future, society’s obsession with celebrities has reached an all time high. The craze has become so overbearing, it has seeped into every crevice of human experience. People are so engulfed with the idea of fame, that a mere autograph will no longer suffice. In order to quench the need to be close to stardom, new, more extreme methods have been erected. Why settle for simply wondering what your favorite celebrity is like, when you could infect yourself with the same virus that he or she has attained? Luckily, there exists a company that helps their clients feel closer to those they deem in a higher societal standing.
Syd; one of the employees of this business, has recently undergone the mission to attain the latest virus from one of the biggest stars currently working; Miss Hannah Geist. Hannah has been stricken with an unknown disease that has left her bed-ridden, and left the rest of the world in tatters, as they try to search for a label for this illness, and a way to take it for themselves. To get a leg up on the competition, Syd illegally infects himself with the virus during his visit with Hannah, and tries to carry it back to his lab, where he can market it for a profit. Unfortunately, his plans are hindered as the infection quickly spreads through his body, increasing his chances of fatality as much as the star that everyone worships. After the news errupts that Hannah has died, Syd must find the cure, before he suffers the same fate.
Writer/director Brandon Cronenberg is quickly making a name for himself in the horror community. This intriguing social commentary works as a warning to the public about what we could become if we’re not careful, and serves as a triumphant way for Brandon to sidestep his father’s massive shadow. The use of celebrities as objects to decorate our colorless, uneventful lives with is not only clever, but already fairly accurate. We’re all guilty of it to a point. Our devotion is evident by our “news coverage” taking the time to talk about famous people, but leaving out important topics, especially from foreign nations. Many of our magazines are covered with petty celebrity gossip, which we devour eagerly. But if one were to bring up these points, they would only be met with denial, and possibly, anger. The only way to show the world what we’ve become, and where we’re heading is to create an extreme, uncomfortably accurate, futuristic version of ourselves, and show it through one of our favorite mediums: film.
Some may say this film can’t be categorized as horror, but the fear that Antiviral elicits is the possibility of these drastic events happening in real life. As far fetched as it seems, it makes sense, because everyone is so into fame, sometimes it seems like it’s all we care about. So much of what we’re doing already is echoed in the film, like the fact that so many stars are famous just for being famous. This film evokes an interesting commentary about our fascination with fame, and forces us to really look at ourselves and determine the value of popular culture, versus what is logical.