Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Budget: $31 million (CAD)
Directed By: David Cronenberg
A late entry into the video games are evil and will turn you into a weird killer franchise. It's also a play on body horror as well such as Videodrome.
Videodrome also being a play on how bad video nasty films were getting bad back then too. I'll probably review it at some point.
An early film for Jude Law too, riding on from Gataca thinking this would be a big hit, it was quite a flop in the cinemas at the time though just like Gataca.
They both have like a lot of films gathered a reasonable cult following now on home video. Possibly due to the odd nature of the film just entertaining for what it is.
Also staring strong female actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in her late thirties (though she looks no where near that in here and still looks great these days). She'd been acting for many years prior also staring in 1986 original version of the hitcher with Rutger Hauer. This is not an easy film to review by far, with all the oddness and changes it goes through can be a little hard to put into words. But i'm going to try!
In what seems to be a futuristic world where biotechnology has overtaken normal technology a new 'games console' is being released to the market. A test group are trying it out, Allegra Geller (introduced by non other than a young face Christopher Eccleston) a bit of a recluse and the console maker is there to show it off. These new consoles plug directly into your spine via a weird umbilical cord thing and bio-port. The bio-port you get implanted into yourself to be able to play these games.
Some people aren't totally into these new bio-consoles or bio-ports and see them as some kind of a travesty, to the point where some people want to assassinate Allegra. These are called realists and one tries to kill her while she is showing of eXistenZ, little e big X, as it's described in film.
Pikul (Law) manages to save her and they go on the run together, unfortunately her bio-console was damaged in the attack. It holds the only copy of the game on its drives and to be able to test out if it's still okay Allegra needs to port with someone.
She discovers Pikul has no port and they go see an illegal port installer (Willem Dafoe) called Gas, Pikul professing he's not an extremist but just never believed in 'violating' himself like that agrees to have one installed. Unknown to them both the port installed is a faulty one and hurts the console even further. Gas attempts to kill Geller but Pikul once again saves her life.
This time they go to a ski lodge to see Geller's ex mentor (played by Ian Holm) who helps her repair the console and install a fresh port good into Pikul.
This is where the film starts to get even weirder an may lose some people now. They manage to get into the game where things get odd, some dead people are in there as different characters and others are simple npc's. what makes it weirder is in the game they further enter the game by jacking mini bio-consoles into their bio-ports. So much so you don't know whats game and what isn't, just for sanity sake it's all game now lol.
So going 'further' into the game they get mundane jobs 'undercover' in a pod making factory seems they are made (in this reality) from bits of other mutated animals. They are met by a person who says that they are their undercover agent in the factory. Pikul is told to order the special in the restaurant, it's an assortment of disgusting looking items. As he eats it however the bones seem to makes up the signature bone 'gun' from earlier and the movie poster. He mock threatens Allegra but then for some reason blows away the Chinese waiter. They find out after this that the original guy they spoke to was a double agent and the waiter was their real contact.
Finding a diseased pod back at the factory Allegra seemingly overtaken by the game tries to infect all the other pods with it. It makes her ill though and Pikul attempts to save her by cutting her cord, this unfortunately leads to her bleed out. The double agent returns and douses the diseased pod with a flamethrower which bursts into diseased spores.
Awaking back at the ski lodge they realise the main pod has been infected, Allegra believes it was trying to tell them subconsciously it was in trouble. It seems Vinokur (Holm) was also a double agent working for cortical systematic's. This is where it gets really annoying now, everyone turns on everyone as some kind of double agent of some kind, I wont spoil the main ending but it's a twist that worked back in the day but i think won't fool many these days.
So eXistnZ, it's worth watching, its a bit of a mind fuck for the last two thirds to half of the film which may or may not either lose you, piss you off or entertain you. THN fell into the entertain segment back in the day when we first watched it, we now fall into a more of a 'Meh' so with that we do give it only a 2 out of 5 but with a recommendation to watch if you can, i'd like to see your thoughts on it.