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Overall Rating

Awesome: 35.53%
Worth A Look42.11%
Average: 13.16%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 3.95%

13 reviews, 74 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"Eraserhead meets The Thirteenth Floor. Yawn."
3 stars

You've got to give credit to a filmmaker that likes to do things a little bit differently. Different is good. But different for a reason is better. Existenz is the kind of flick that you constantly expect to get way poignant, way original, way introspective... and all you get is a video game with mutant puppets and a lot of pus.

But hey, video games with mutant puppets and pus aren't exactly a dime a dozen, so there's at least something to keep your mind occupied.

David Cronenberg likes to go all mutey on our asses. He's an 'out there' director who is loath to just tell a straight story. He doesn't make awful films. But for some reason he appears in a lot of them. Remember Cronenberg's cameo in The Stupid's? Or Last Night, To Die For, Extreme Measures, Trial By Jury, Night Breed? He's also in the upcoming Chris Lambert flick Resurrection.

Why does he make these crummy cameos? Because he can. He's Cronenberg; the man behind Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly, and The Brood. He can do whatever the fuck he wants.

Except of course make a film without the help of Canadian Government funding. Despite making movies since the late 60's, despite having some fine flicks under his belt, Cronenberg still has the hand out. Like Atom Egoyan, he hides behind the subsidy and tax credit system of Canada to make films that he can consider art, without needing to worry about butts on seats.

Is this a bad thing? Ask one of the many Canadian up'n'coming filmmakers how they feel about being handed scraps while Cronenberg and Egoyan are handed the bulk of funds available.

Though at least in Existenz, DC has tried to bring both sides of the audience, arties and farties, together. This is a film that reeks of Cronenberg's usual fascination with the macabre, but also tries to inject a storyline that can be understood without breaking your brain.

Jen Jason Leigh is a video game designer who has a groundbreaking video game in testing mode. But yikes! The "realists" are not real happy about JJL's fantasy world and have the assassins out to get her and her clueless marketing assistant "bodyguard", Jude Law.

What follows is a cavalcade of freaks, quirky characters and every Canadian actor there is with the exception of Mike Myers, Martin Short and Jim Carrey (read: the ones nobody knows).

Now, with every virtual reality themed feature that happens there's one glaring similarity. The "what is the game, what's real" crisis. Existenze takes that to a new level, though not necessarily a more effective one.

Is it good? Yeah, it's okay. Is it scary? Not at all. If anything can sum this film up in one word, that word is "gooey" - and that's all.

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originally posted: 11/28/99 14:40:36
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good ideas get lost in gross out effects 2 stars
5/22/10 Dane Youssef Superior to "Matrix" in ever way. Cronenberg refuses to disapoint. Wicked. 5 stars
7/03/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Cronenberg at his best 5 stars
3/25/09 JDigital One of the weirdest movies ever, great to watch on shrooms. 5 stars
3/18/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess One of the most imaginative films i've seen 5 stars
1/23/09 userNstuff this movie was freaking weird...not bad for 1999. seemed gay/homo? but had a cool ending 3 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Awesome! Alien orifices and bug-like creatures.Classic Cronenberg madness! 4 stars
7/30/07 QC cRappY. Can't believe Canadian taxpayers money was used to finance this junk. 1 stars
4/29/07 William Goss Intriguing concept soon grows redundant and wearying. 3 stars
5/09/06 K. Sear Fantastic. Cronenburg keeps getting better with age. 5 stars
3/12/06 matt this blew my mind, i was affected for several hours after and somewhat lost sense of realty 5 stars
12/27/05 Stu Hasic As a regular computer game player, I found there were many levels to this movie. 4 stars
12/10/05 havthat I thought this was really interesting and beautiful when it came out. 4 stars
10/08/05 Mr Whuschatio Interesting and Grotesque 4 stars
8/13/05 ES What?!? guns out of mutant fish bones?= a bad dream after food poisoning 1 stars
6/06/05 Indrid Cold Ultimately it's satisfying, but the plot moves WAY too slow to even come close to "Matrix" 3 stars
7/23/04 Samuel a pretty decent film. 4 stars
5/25/04 Daveman like most of Cronenberg's films, underrated 4 stars
3/07/04 malcolm not at all intriguing. just F-ing wierd for wierds sake. 2 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Worst Cronenberg EVER, Intensely homoerotic symbolism. Loopy plot. Videodrome for idiots. 1 stars
2/15/04 Lou great story telling, superb acting & look/feel 5 stars
1/02/04 William so! I think it`s realy freaky movie and it`s hard to find a movie like that!! 5 stars
7/03/03 DANIEL YES BIZARRE 5 stars
6/29/03 Nicole Bizarre 4 stars
3/25/03 Al This movie sucks, has no plot or special effects and the ending is very dissapointing. 1 stars
2/14/03 Luke Naidoo Wonderful Movie, really unexpected ending 5 stars
10/29/02 Taylor James Reality becomes a vanishing subset 5 stars
9/22/02 Ostrich Eddie Nice visuals, one of my favorite cronenberg flics. Very subtle and powerful. 5 stars
8/09/02 Jiz Would have seemed good had I not already seen 13th floor, which is the same damn thing 3 stars
7/27/02 Bada Bing Crosby I loved 'Crash' & other Cronenberg but this one was off the charts, plus I hate JJL, alot 1 stars
10/13/01 Bevan R. Clark Kick ass Cronenberg doing what he does best! 5 stars
9/26/01 Grisu one of the best sci-fi films about virtual reality ive seen, maybe even the best one 5 stars
9/09/01 Gary Inventive and enigmatic. Law & Leigh are good, but the final act gets much too frantic. 3 stars
9/09/01 Michiel Huitema Best part is when you turn off the TV 5 stars
9/05/01 perverted pixie If you like mucus this film is your heaven 4 stars
9/03/01 The-Dude good film 4 stars
8/29/01 Gary Likeable and funny with good turns from Leigh and Law, but goes way too over-the-top. 4 stars
7/18/01 SF fan Very good work. 4 stars
7/14/01 Puggy D Come on epeople, Cronenberg just plain kicks ass. 5 stars
6/12/01 Gizzy Didn't appreciate it until that stunning ending...Good stuff 4 stars
2/22/01 trashstar I liked it alot, very surreal imagery and concepts. 4 stars
2/15/01 c. Walken Cronenburg doing what he does best - mutating things. In this case it's reality he mutates 5 stars
1/29/01 Soggy Bottom Boy The best of the VR genre! One of Cronenberg's best outings, kick-@ss visuals, FX & acting. 5 stars
1/08/01 The Bomb 69 the ending was a total mindfuck, by the way, are we in reality now? 5 stars
6/30/00 Bevan R. Clark Not being a diehard Cronenberg fanatic myself, I thought "eXistenZ" was a masterpiece. 5 stars
4/12/00 Dr. Rev. Krule, MD Why did Jennifer Jason Leigh have like 4 different hair styles? 5 stars
12/15/99 Silent Bob Gets You Thinking about Reality 5 stars
12/14/99 Aiken Drum was expecting more from the film so was a bit disappointed. I still enjoyed it though. 3 stars
12/01/99 James Cox Really cool movie 5 stars
11/22/99 Ralf Behet An unremarkable Cronenberg. The ending was particularly flat. 3 stars
11/20/99 John Linton Roberson At last, the real Cronenberg returns 4 stars
10/29/99 Bozo It was disgusting & I haven't eaten Chinese since seeing it ten months ago 1 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Jennifer Jason Leigh is hot, the script is awesome, and the movie is pure intelligence. 5 stars
10/26/99 Dr. Fardook Lacks the cojones of his usual ... but still good 4 stars
10/15/99 Lame-Oh freaky as hell 5 stars
10/15/99 Tommi Neither Cronenberg's best flick, nor his worst 4 stars
9/17/99 strike one of the better Cronenbergs. 4 stars
8/20/99 JHON MARKY LION203 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Absolutely marvellous. Very um...visceral. I really like the way Cronenburg likes FLESH! 5 stars
6/05/99 Gasgano Good, but Phantom Menace was better. 3 stars
5/26/99 Mr. Film I saw it the night after Phantom Menace. It was BRILLIANT by comparison. Videodrome Lite. 4 stars
5/20/99 Heather Intriguing movie, you've got to admire Cronenberg 4 stars
5/15/99 Sanford Dostovesky Pure Genuis 5 stars
5/10/99 Ah Dooey Sci-fi at its best 5 stars
5/05/99 Jerry Excellent 5 stars
5/02/99 Ian Nathanson Give Videodrone a look first but applaude Cronenberg! 5 stars
5/01/99 Phlipit I was lost after the first scene but i don't give a damn it was simply smashing 5 stars
4/29/99 dirt very good 5 stars
4/26/99 kam cool 4 stars
4/26/99 Kirgo1 Original 5 stars
4/26/99 Mr Showbiz The latest take on virtual reality benfits from the vision of Cronenberg 4 stars
4/26/99 Justin S. Excellent. One of Cronenberg's best. Very strange and surprisingly funny. 5 stars
4/25/99 agustin interesting 4 stars
11/25/98 Lord Of The Dunce A really good film. Cronenberg might have broken through at last. 5 stars
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