I haven't seen too much Cronenberg, only this, The Fly and The Dead Zone. But I gotta say this about him, the guy definitely has a style...yes, he has a very distinct style for sure.
Acting/Characters: This is another film where one actor pretty much carries the whole thing. In this case that actor is James Woods. Now, I have not seen him in too much (mostly the Family Guy episodes he guest stars in these days) but I like him. He hasn't done anything that I have seen that he really sucked in. I enjoyed him in this one well enough. He did a pretty good job. The rest of the cast did a decent job too but they weren't as memorable as Woods. No one did a bad job. it was mostly pretty good but woods did the best job by far. 8.5/10
Plot: Well, I went into this one knowing nothing except for the whole 'James Woods puts his head into a TV' scene. I didn't know what to expect from the film but it wasn't what it was. Was that a good thing? Yes, yes I'd say it is. It's another one that at moments, you aren't 100% sure what is real and what is not. It suited this film well. It didn't overdo it either which is good. It definitely was one that got weirder as it went along. I wasn't a fan of some of the sexual stuff in the beginning though. I got enough of that kind of thing in The Piano Teacher. But overall it was a very solid plot that was very Cronenburg. I enjoyed it. It kept me very interested throughout the whole movie. It was unpredictable too. It was pretty good. 8.5/10
Screenplay: Long live the new flesh!it was pretty good all around. Nothing flawless but I enjoyed it. some of the better scenes in the film were the ones without any dialogue (or minimal dialogue) which isn't a bad thing. It's wasn't like: oh finally they've shut up so now we can have some peace from that horrid dialogue. It was pretty enjoyable and it flowed well. 8/10
Likableness: Aside from the sexual stuff in the beginning I enjoyed it. I like movies where I never truly know what is real or not. Backed by a strong performance from James Woods, it never gets boring. I would suggest it to people who like films like this one. or even just Cronenburg fans (although most Cronenburg fans have probably seen this one already anyways) I liked it. Would I watch it again? Yeah, I probably would. Not right away but I would. 9/10
Final Score: 34/40 85% (N)
Tomatometer Rating: 80%
Tomatometer rating if my review was added: 80%
TRIVIA TIME: 1. David Tsubouchi, who appears here briefly as a Japanese porn dealer, later became a Minister in the Ontario provincial government. His appearance in this controversial film as a pornographer was exploited by the opposition.
2. The chest-slit sequences had James Woods built into a couch with the chest-slit apparatus glued onto him. Woods swore he would never work with anything that had to be glued onto him ever again! During filming the sequences with the flesh-gun (which "fired" bursts of cold, vaporous gas), Woods played a prank on director David Cronenberg by smearing his (real) hand with blue paint and pretending he had frostbite.
3. During filming of the Cathode Ray mission sequence, the film's gaffer, Jock Brandis, walked in and casually informed the crew that the power lines to the building were smoking because of the load imposed on them by the TV sets.
4. Andy Warhol called the movie the "A Clockwork Orange of the 1980s".