A slave to its format, which is no longer a novelty, this wanders too far into technical territory and creates a narrative web that puzzles without frightening, making a distracting mess in the process.
"Oh. The script girl. I'll eat her later."
Look, I could watch Dafoe literally chew up the scenery all night, but unfortunately this movie is also full of bad accents, absurd dialogue, and a crisis re: whether it's horror, comedy, or neither. Like if Mel Brooks directed a giallo while having a stroke.
"What is that? Some kind of big bug?"
Thirteen year old me would've absolutely adored this, and it's a shame he missed out. He was a total sucker for these late 90s VR movies.
It hasn't aged really well, the techno-cheese is heavy, and there are obviously some other problems, but let's just appreciate what Cronenberg did here to make virtual reality weird and gross and highly sexual all at the same time. Always lube your bioports before jacking in, kids.
And where is Willem Dafoe's Oscar?
"We love premarital sex!"
One star just for the way old J dispatches the blonde doctor lady right after his nap. Before he even has coffee. What a pro!
It turns out everyone in the space future is super greedy / horny and wears artsy sweaters (knitted by some unseen space nana?). Most of the kills are unceremonious, the overused digital effects are heinous (the budget presumably consumed by sweater design), and the blatant ripoffs of decent sci-fi franchises are cringey. I really can't blame Mr. Voorhees for his unflinching drive to put an end to this nonsense.
"Leave me to do my dark bidding on the internet!"
A treasure. The reality show production style and convincing effects lend this an authenticity that perfectly sells the silliness along with the emotional weight that grounds it.
Plus the jokes just never stop.
I was not prepared for this.
If a sociopathic monster can look normal and act normal, lead a seemingly normal life and go home to normal family, how fine is the line between good and evil? How can you know when you slip over it? How much of that darkness exists deeply and quietly within us all? What keeps it buried? If we do not face it, can it ever really die?
The recipe for this movie:
1 part weird true story
1 part predictable plot
2 parts exposition
1 part cheap digital compositing
1 part cool interiors
1 part Helen Mirren for some reason
Mix well, undercook. Sprinkle with ironic gun violence, serve without booze.
Ah, definitive 90s Richard Gere. Fortyish, gray-haired, affable, chasing that elusive West Virginia cryptid and his own demons while doing his part to convince us that Laura Linney’s small town cop needs his help with mothmen or anything else.
I’m not sure exactly what keeps this movie so tame, but it never gets under my skin the way it seems designed to. Maybe it tries to do too much with too little, wanting to get…
At this point, anything with zombies draws innumerable comparisons from across the genre. We're obsessed, have been for years. In this case, "part He Is Legend, part Shaun of the Dead" feels in the ballpark. But here, instead of shifting into an action or comedy gear, the story lingers on the subtler facets of a lonely existence among the undead. It feels more honest, guileless, and ultimately kind of fresh.
Denis Lavant steals it as Alfred, the friendly elevator zombie.