Slowly but surely, virtual reality is beginning to seep into wider society, schools and work places. As the price of a headset continues to fall and the technology employed in the software advances at pace, it’s only a matter of time until VR becomes a normal part of our everyday lives. As with many things, David Cronenberg prophesied this. In 1999 in his inventive and thought-provoking thriller eXistenZ.
Set in the near-future, consoles have been replaced by biotechnological virtual reality. Players can use their bodies to port directly into games. At a closed-door demonstration of Antenna Research’s new game eXistenZ, the brilliant Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who designed the game, survives an attempt on her life. She escapes with the help of Ted Pikul (Jude Law), a naïve marketing trainee. They go on the run and must defeat the game in order to save themselves.
eXistenZ is a fantastically inventive film which works as both an absorbing thriller and a cautionary science-fiction fable. Cronenberg wraps the tale in layers of mystery, never allowing the audience to confidentially comprehend precisely what is happening. The young cast throw themselves into this devise and there are some fantastic supporting players, including Ian Holme, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Eccleston. eXistenZ brings the future to life in this colourful and creative gamer noir.
eXistenZ is released on Dual Format DVD and Blu-Ray by 101 Films on their new Black Label on 21 May.