by on Sep.15, 2010, under Daily Review

After an accident in which Rose (Marylin Chambers) and Hart (Frank Moore) get thrown from a motorcycle, Rose ends up in intensive care with immediate skin grafts. She recovers slowly but develops a taste for blood with a protruding abscess which grows from her armpit, into a sharp spike which impales her victim as she goes in for an embrace. Her victims slowly become infected and in turn, become blood thirsty fiends.

This is a glorious film. I know the plot sounds a bit odd, and at times, it is, but the connotations here are deep and dark suggesting sexual disease, social issues and decline along with the acceptance of a mutation of the skin and body. Cronenberg is a master of cinema, who deals this changes and the darker side of disorder, focusing on the positive. The desire and willingness to spread an infection, although Rose is at conflict with her own self over the changes within her own body and her new role in life. She is a strong character and dominates the film through performance, which is flawless and also through character which is a superb strong female who uses her flesh to get what she wants, to conquer men and allow her disease to spread and cause chaos. Inside, a frightened young woman is repressed.

The outbreak of violence causes the area to be locked down by military force and those contaminated destroyed. Hysteria spreads through the bleak concrete town. Again, Cronenberg focuses on a simplistic view of landscape. Every scene is simple and pure, clinical. A trait which follows in all his films. His closeness for mutation of the body is celebrated, a different commitment towards characters than portrayed with other films of this style and era. Romero focused on the human side of situations, allowing those infected in his films to be villainised. Cronenberg allows an embrace of change. As a viewer, you feel for Rose as she takes on this new role and follow her, even supporting her actions. How Cronenberg manages this, I’ve no idea. His direction is stunning, lifting believable, amazing performances from his actors. Chambers is brilliant here. And then there is that ending. I love this film. Always will.


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