Brian’s Review – “Videodrome”

Sleazy TV executive Max Renn (James Woods) is looking for cheap, exciting programming for his fly-by-night channel when he fortuitously stumbles across a fuzzy satellite feed showing torture, punishment … and possibly murder. A conspiracy is afoot as two competing groups fight for the 20th century’s soul, using the airwaves as their battlefield. Renn searches for the truth, all the while obsessed by an on-air chanteuse (Deborah Harry).

Brian – 5 out of 10
I love weird movies and I love David Cronenberg. You would think that this film and me would be like peanut butter and jelly.. It contains some amazing and trippy imagery that I was intrigued by. Clearly, David Cronenberg knows how to blast us with interesting camerawork. From the neck stomp in “History of Violence to the head explosion of “Scanners” to the NC-17 rated “Crash”, he has always had a track record of pushing the envelope with both sex and violence. But, at some point, the story really starts to show its weaknesses and all the great technical work in the world can’t save it.

The film’s lead is anchored by a young James Woods who is excellent, as always. However, the supporting players are weak and add little to nothing to their characters besides cookie cutter caricatures. We have Deborah Harry(Lead singer of the band Blondie) reciting her lines like she’s reading from a textbook, Sonja Smits staring blindly during scenes where she’s supposed to be frightened, and Jack Creley reciting on videotapes like he’s mailing them in from a hidden Al Qaeda base. It all adds up to a twisted ending that felt too easy a cleanup for the story’s shortcomings and messy setup. I hate to trash it because there are some really great moments. But, at the end of the day, a film should be rated on how it gels together. And, with that in mind, Videodrome falls flat and stands out as one of the weaker Cronenberg titles.

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