A high-rise apartment’s residents fall prey to a malignant parasite, compelling them to orgiastic violence. Cronenberg mixes ‘50s sci-fi sensibilities with graphic body horror, resulting in a most uncomfortable watch.
The closed environment and dialogue-heavy execution echo his earlier efforts, but this entry’s larger budget affords color photography and gruesome special effects. Cronenberg’s imagery pushed my buttons. The parasites resemble bloody penises. The residents vomit them out, expelling them like crimson fecal matter. Gruesome, but effective. The most unsettling scene saw a man talking to the parasite writhing in his stomach like a mother cooing her unborn child. Atomic-age paranoia turned inward. Brilliant.
But Cronenberg also carries forward the worst of those ‘50’s sci-fi flicks, imbuing his ineffectual female characters with the self-preservation skills of a toddler. Such lazy writing mars an otherwise entertaining effort.