eXistenZ (1999)

  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Horror | Sci-Fi
  • Director: David Cronenberg
  • Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe


Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective.

One comment

  • “People are programmed to accept so little but the possibilities are so great,” Allegra Gellar (Jennifer Jason Leigh) observes in David Cronenberg’s latest mind warp eXistenZ.

    eXistenZ is the latest game that famed game designer Allegra has created. Like most games in this seemingly post apocalyptic setting, it is plugged into a bioport, an electrical outlet that’s positioned on the human spine. The body, then, is the power source for the virtual reality game. Before Allegra can fully download her program into the dozen volunteers of the test group, a man in the audience storms to the stage, declares, “Death to the demoness!” and fires. Pandemonium ensues and Allegra is taken into safety by Ted Pikul (Jude Law), a marketing trainee who becomes her unwitting bodyguard.

    Allegra, who’s spent five years developing the game for Antenna Research, fears for the state of her game pod. The pod, which resembles a kidney or an embryonic fetus with umbilical cord-like plugs, is made of fertilized amphibian eggs stuffed with synthetic DNA so it’s prone to contamination and disease. The only way to find out if the pod is contaminated is to play the game. With someone friendly, Allegra stresses. “Are you friendly?” she asks Ted.

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