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Brandon Cronenberg

Infinity Pool – Brandon Cronenberg (2023)

A while ago I heard that there was a new Brandon Cronenberg coming up. The date seemed to be set for halfway July, but when the date came, it appeared that the movie still was not available in my country. Just like with “Possessor” I had to get a copy abroad.

I am afraid I have to say that Cronenberg has a downward trajectory. Contrary to the ratings, I really like “Antiviral”, “Possessor” is alright and “Infinity Pool” is alright as well.

James is an aspiring writer with a writer’s block for his second novel. He married rich and him and his wife Em go on holidays to an exclusive resort on some tropical island. There they meet Gaby and Alban. Especially Gaby is very manipulative and uses her charms to guide James into a direction of her choosing.

The story of “Infinity Pool” is highly unlikely and very far fetched. Island authorities have ruthless methods of maintaining order and an extraordinarily odd way for rich tourists to avoid death penalty. A group of resort regulars seems to think themselves untouchable because they have the means to employ the rich tourists treatment.

James is navigated towards more and more extreme ways of making fun, while it becomes clear that is actually himself who is being made fun of. Cronenberg comes with some bloody gore, extreme violence, nudity and explicit sex, but also psychedelic scenes which make “Infinity Pool” somewhat more interesting. The music of Tim Hecker also helps some.

Again, the new Cronenberg is not your average film, but I cannot say that it is particularly good.

Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg (2020)

Because of his excellent “Antiviral” (2012) I was pretty excited when I heard about Cronenberg junior’s latest film. It took a while before the release though and when I write this, there still seems to be no European release or even a date. So my copy came from the USA which apparently takes a month in shipping.

“Possessor” and by far not as good as “Antiviral”. It starts as a nice, moody movie, but the story is much less interesting as Cronenberg’s previous film and there is more focus on (horror) gore. Not the “body horror” of his old man and which could also be found in “Antiviral”, but bloody violence.

In some future everybody seems to have a brain implant. Some company uses these implants for contract killings. An agent is ‘transported’ to a victim who will commit the crime and die.

We mostly follow one such agent, Tasya, who has done this work for a while and who appears to have increasing problems with the work. Of course things do not go as planned in the last job and the victim is not entirely taken over.

“Possessor” is not your average film. It is dark, weird, the story is strange. You have to enjoy the weirder kind of film for “Possessor”. I think Cronenberg’s previous is a good compare even though this new film is (of course) much different. Like I said, it is also less good in my opinion. Since we do not often get films of this type, I still recommend “Possessor” if you also like the darker and weirder stuff.

Antiviral * Brandon Cronenberg (2012)

Hell yeah! I needed a film like this. Nice camera work and a critical, extremely weird Cronenberg-like story. I will tell you what: this is a Cronenberg! Brandon is a son of David and it looks like he is inspired by the older films of his old man. The way I see it he succeeded gloriously, inspite of the 5.5 on IMdB. “Antiviral” brings flashbacks of films like “Videodrome”, “The Fly” and even “Naked Lunch” while it is pretty much in a different style. The story is, like Cronenberg sr. older films, so extravagant that I will have to watch the film again (and preferably with subtitles) to know what this is all about. Let me give it a try.
The celebrity craze went to such extremes in some unknown future that a facility called Lucas Clinic offers the possibility to fans to be infected with the same virus as the celebrities they adore. One of the employers, Syd March, also enters the black marked where meat seems to be cloned from these same celebrities so that people can eat the meat of their loved ones. Syd also seems to have plans for himself which of course goes bad and he gets crushed between the big money market parties living off celebrities’ cells. This is perhaps a bit too much about the story, but these are but some elements of a crazy story that slowly unfolds during the film.
The camera work is great. The hospital scenes are white and overlighted, giving some heavenly gleam. Outsides scenes are underlighted as if the outside world is unenlightened. There are only a hanfull of characters and everything is nicely minimalistic. There are a couple of great over the top scenes with experimenting doctors. Great, weird, Cronenberg. A wonderfull ode to his old man, but in his own style, and I hope that jr. will continue in this style. I watched this like I did when I first saw the sr’s classics. Perhaps “Antiviral” will be one of such classics.