Antiviral: Celebrity Culture and Cannibalism

Given that the entire internet has spent the past week buzzing over what may or may not be a sincere effort at selling lab-grown celebrity meat for consumption, it seems only appropriate that we end the week with Antiviral (currently on Netflix). The movie received some mixed reviews, but one thing's for certain—this thing is going to stay with you whether you like it or not.

Although it's most often referred to as a Canadian horror film, extremely disturbing sci-fi might be a more accurate description. The movie takes place in a dystopian, not-too-distant future in which society's obsession with celebrities has ballooned into absurd proportions. We meet Syd, who works for the Lucas Clinic, one of several firms that specializes in buying viruses from sick celebrities only to sell the illness to the celebs' many obsessed fans. Your everyday citizen is then injected, falls ill, and gets to feel a spiritual connection with the object of their desire.


But that's not all. There are also entire meat markets that use celebrity DNA to grow what is effectively actual human meat—welcome to world of socially condoned cannibalism. A deeply upsetting idea, but that's what Antiviral is almost entirely pushing. Character development and pacing seem to have been sacrificed for the sake of technical skill—but that's not necessarily a horrible thing. There's nothing to distract you from the questions at hand: What's pushing this celebrity obsession, and where is it going? The answer to the latter is heavy-handedly spoonfed to you through the course of the film. The former, however, is a little more ambiguous.

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Veras Gunn

extremely disturbing sci-fi

So kind of in the area of most of David Cronenburg's movies?