Videodrome ★★★★★

This is perhaps Cronenberg's most inaccessible film. It refuses to be defined and to be holed up in a genre. It is a mesmerising, frightening and hallucinatory trip into the abyss of man's mind.

Strangely enough, this film, which I consider to be one of his best, showcases his strength and his weakness really well. He is not the best storyteller, but he certainly is one of the best directors who can create tense and unnerving atmospheres.

The first time I watched this I couldn't make heads nor tails of it, but watching it was still a uniquely disturbing and fascinating experience. The oppressive and continuous sense of wrongness is evoked really well. This has a lot to do with the fragmented structure and the stunning visuals. The claustrophobic feel of the film is strengthened by the unreliability of the main character's perception of reality.

Woods is absolutely perfect in his role, he manages to give his rather morally dubious character a human aspect that evokes sympathy in his audience. I have always liked him as an actors but I consider this to be one of his finest roles.

So what's it all about then? Well, that's for you to decide. I see it as an attack and critique on the dumbing down of people in their insatiable need for cheap satisfaction. And by cheap I mean satisfaction at the expense of others. It pushes this to extremes and postulates the idea that man is ready to evolve into 'the new flesh', a symbiosis of man and machine. There is no room for individualism here as we are simple drones that follow what is told to us via various media. Woods' character is not one to follow. He wants to be different. He is unfortunately doomed as he discovers that the only way he can stop Videodrome is to change with it, to evolve into a creature without will, formed by society and mass media.

Cronenberg is a master of the body horror and here, aided by Rick Baker, he gives us some gruesome and disturbing imagery. How he managed to make some of it erotic is beyond me, but still, he succeeds.

This film has a vision and watching it now, I find its metaphoric imagery and content frighteningly accurate.

DirkH liked these reviews