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(Review originally written at 3 January 2007)

This is a very interesting and intriguing early movie from acclaimed director David Cronenberg.

The movie is definitely not a formulaic standard piece of work. It features lots of odd hallucinating moments, mixed with sadomasochist sex. The movie does reach the point at times, when you're not sure any more if the main character is hallucinating, or if things are real. It give the movie a nightmarish like atmosphere, which is the reason why this movie can be regarded as an horror movie. But it's not a typical horror movie with scare moments, or monsters, or anything like that. It above all is a very imaginative movie that is not alway accessible or easy to understand but always interesting and intriguing to watch.

In the beginning its not clear were the movie is heading to. The movie begins as a 'normal' one, then the movie starts to show sadomasochist and erotic tendencies, before it turns into an hallucinating-trip, filled with gore and violence.

The movie can be seen as a one that warns about the 'dangers of television' when truth and fiction can not be told apart anymore and fiction actually starts becoming reality. It also uses some virtual reality themes to make this point, which was quite unique for 1983, for no one had really heard about this concept at that time period. It makes the movie futuristic but at the same time also outdated in some of its themes, though the main concept of the movie is still relevant today, perhaps even more than in 1983 was the case.

It's definitely not the most accessible movie to watch. It's highly imaginative and also quite odd at times. Yet the movie remains strangely perfectly watchable, even though you never really fully get to understand the things that are going on the movie. The movie chooses to leave many things unexplained and also ends with a suiting open-ending. Andy Warhol was right to call this movie the "A Clockwork Orange" of the '80's.

The movie does a brilliant job at mixing various different movie styles and combine it into a unique of its own, type of style and atmosphere. Fantasy, horror, mystery, sci-fi, thriller, sex this movie has all those elements in it.

The movie is very lively directed by David Cronenberg. His directing is probably the main reason why the movie in the end works out so extremely well. Before this he made mostly B-type of horror movies but with this movie he shows his true skills of greatness. After this 2 other great movies by him were made; "The Dead Zone" and "The Fly". Quite unique for a director now days to make three great movies in a row. Cronenberg seems to understand the genres he ventures into but always choose to alter it and provide the movie with an unique style of its own that can not be easily labeled. "Videodrome" is perhaps the very best and most obvious example of this. The only movie that got close to the style and atmosphere of this movie was Cronenberg's own movie "eXistenZ", that definitely shows some similarities with this movie, also with its themes. "Videodrome" is still Cronenberg's most unique and imaginative work.

Of course the movie is also definitely helped by it's visual and hallucinative atmosphere that is filled with lots of gore and violence. It's well made and good looking. It doesn't try to impress, though some of the techniques used in this movie were definitely unique and not done before. I was especially surprised by the gore in the movie. At first it didn't seem that this was going to be a gory one. It seemed more like it was going to be a psychological thriller, with supernatural elements about a 'killer' TV station. Sort of like "The Ring". Yet the movie in the end showed more and more gore in a realistic sort of way only Cronenberg can make it.

The cast also does a good job at always keeping things realistic, no matter how unusual it all seems and gets. The movie is well written with some good dialog that is greatly delivered by its cast. James Woods does a good job at playing the main character, in a role we'll not easily see him in anymore now days.

An unique, great and engaging viewing experience.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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