Premiere - 06/01/1999
"...Powerful, intelligent, disturbing, and, believe it or not, fun movie, one that's worth seeing multiple times..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/22/1999
"...Unusually witty....The psychological depths Cronenberg reaches are tingling to fathom..." -- Rating: B+
New York Times - 04/23/1999
"...EXISTENZ has the oozing, throbbing, ghoulish hallmarks of other Cronenberg fever dreams..."
Box Office - 06/01/1999
"....Cronenberg's observations reflect the concern that technology is replacing social interaction....[With] complex themes and even more complex plot..."
USA Today - 04/23/1999
"...The acting is good, there are provocative moments and Cronenberg has a sharp ending up his sleeve..."
Los Angeles Times - 04/23/1999
"...A provocative entertainment....The Cronenberg trademarks are here in full force....Sci-fi fantasy/horror doesn't get more sophisticated than EXISTENZ..."
A renowned international virtual reality game designer (Jennifer Jason Leigh), creator of a new interactive game called eXistenZ, becomes the target of an assassination plot by a group of religious fanatics. She is forced to go into hiding with a novice security guard (Jude Law) sworn to protect her. However, during the chase the two of them experience a world where the boundaries of fantasy and reality are blurred and nothing is as it seems. A psychosexual mindbender from director David Cronenberg.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.:
Exciting stars Jennifer Jason Leigh (DOLORES CLAIBORNE), Jude Law (GATTACA), and Willem Dafoe (SPEED 2, AFFLICTION) challenge the boundaries of reality in this futuristic, critically acclaimed adventure thriller! During the first closed-door demonstration of an amazing new virtual reality game called eXistenZ, the system's brilliant designer, Allegra Geller (Leigh), is violently attacked by a crazed assassin intent on killing her and destroying her creation! Forced to flee into hiding, Allegra enlists a young assistant (Law) to help her in testing the damaged system ... by convincing him to join her inside eXistenZ! The action then explodes as their world's real-life dangers begin to merge with the fantasy of the game! If you're ready to play, it's now your turn to plug into this powerfully entertaining hit!
In the original script, the game was not going to be played on camera, but as writer-director David Cronenberg got more into it, the game began to become more and more important.
EXISTENZ was the first film that Cronenberg wrote and directed since VIDEODROME.
Salman Rushdie's battle against the fatwa taken out on his life served as inspiration for Cronenberg when working on EXISTENZ.