Best David Cronenberg films, ranking


The films of combine grotesque body horror with cruel psychological agony David Cronenberg can be hard to digest at times, but they are some of the best films of the last half century. Since the early 1980s, the Canadian director has perfected his signature use of the modern macabre, showing us skin-creeping metamorphoses, incestuous twin dynamics, and even a sexual desire for cars. In his long career, Cronenberg has developed from an independent, genre-oriented director into a highly respected auteur filmmaker whose bold and idiosyncratic films cannot be confused with any other filmmaker.

With his high-profile remake of Crimes of the future To be released in 2022, we’ll try to do the impossible by listing and rating Cronenberg’s top ten films.

10 scanner

Scanner by David Cronenberg


A fan favorite from 1981, scanner shows Cronenger’s brilliant talent for body horror by knocking the heads of his characters (literally) and those of his audience away. The film tells the story of a group of telepaths who work for a private security company, hoping to use their power to fight another group of gifted scanners. Described by the director as the film “About Heads”, Scanners was one of the first Cronenberg films to garner a large budget, international attention, and critical acclaim. Scanners also stands out in his filmography as one of his most conspiratorial and political films, which works as a critique of the military-industrial complex and the harmful uses of technology. The film shows us that behind Cronenberg’s horror there is usually a deeper message waiting, perhaps even to be transmitted telepathically.

9 stereo

Stereo by David Cronenberg

Movie explorer

David Cronenberg’s directorial debut stereo has the mark of a master in the making. Heavily underrated due to its low budget and somewhat inaccessible plot, Stereo deals almost satirically with the mysteries of sexuality and science. The film is set in the future and shows a group of young people who are going through dark experiments by a mad scientist, the parapsychologist and head of the “academy” Luther Stringfellow (Ronald Mlodzik). The doctors’ offices in cold but stylish brutalist buildings lead to sexual depravity, drugs and death. Stereo may not be technically perfect, but it’s a wonderfully unique film that proves that Cronenberg is not only a genre director but is also capable of creating fun, experimental, and trend-setting films that explore the depths of the human psyche deal with.

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8th Eastern Promises

Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises

Inclined magazine

Best known for its grueling and memorable (though we wish we could forget some details) bathhouse fight scene, Eastern Promises is one of the best crime novels that Cronenberg has shot. Written by Peaky Blinders Writer Steven Knight, the film tells the story of the Russian midwife Anna (played by Naomi Watts) in London, who is looking for the family of a baby whose mother died in childbirth. She has the help of a driver for the Russian mob, Nikolai, who was played in an Oscar-nominated performance by Viggo Mortensen, and the two are driving this dark, melancholy drama forward.

7th The breed

The brood of David Cronenberg

H264 distribution

One of Cronenberg’s most personal stories, The breed is a story about divorce, trauma, and the physical and psychological toll of being a parent. Art Hindle plays the role of Frank Carvethis, a doctor in the middle of a bitter custody battle with his wife Nola (Samantha Eggar), who is being cared for by a suspected psychotherapist who specializes in experimental and “psychoplasmic” therapy. Nola ends up spawning a brood of “psychoplasmic” children who avenge their injustice. The Brood was released in the spring of 1979 and grossed over $ 5 million at the time, making it one of Cronenberg’s first commercial hits. It also became the first of its many cult classics and became a favorite of critics and academics, leading to its Criterion restoration in 2013

6th Naked lunch

Peter Weller smokes with his strange looking friend in Naked Lunch

Alliance release

Located in New York City in 1953, Naked lunch follows the life of exterminator William Lee (masterfully played by Peter Weller), who becomes addicted to his pest control powder and develops surreal hallucinations, such as a typewriter-insect hybrid giving him commands. This quirky story is based on the infamous novel by William Burroughs, considered incapable for decades until Cronenberg wrote an equally unconventional script that blended the book’s plot with other Burroughs fictions and even autobiographical accounts of the author’s life (including when he was ” accidentally “shot his wife”. Filled with strange creatures and grotesques like reptilian “mugwumps”, Naked Lunch is an incredibly unique, darkly funny and risky film like no other. This is probably why Little White Lies recently dubbed it “the weirdest studio film ever”.

5 A history of violence

Viggo Mortensen at a diner in A History of Violence

New Line cinema

Usually, Cronenberg was ahead of his time and actually received immense critical acclaim after its 2005 release A history of violence. The action thriller is an adaptation of a graphic novel and plays Viggo Mortensen as the owner of a small town restaurant who becomes famous after confronting two robbers in self-defense. Not only is A History of Violence one of the best crime novels of its decade, it’s also Cronenberg’s most poignant exploration of the violence that lurks beneath normal American life. The film dissects the idea of ​​the American Dream and reminds us that reinvention comes at a price. It is one of the few Cronenberg films to have received Academy acclaim for being nominated for Best Supporting Actor (William Hurt) and Best Adapted Screenplay. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, Viggo Mortensen claimed it was “one of the best movies”. [he’s] ever been there, if not the best, “which means a lot of the guy who starred in Lord of the Rings.

4th crash

Elias Koteas and Deborah Kara Unger are in Crash.  sensual in the back seat of a car

Alliance communication

Inspirational contemporary award-winning films like Titane, Cronenberg’s adaptation of JG Ballard’s novel crash is one of the most influential psychological thrillers of the 90s. The film was written, produced and directed by Cronenberg himself and stars big names like James Spader, Holly Hunter and Rosanna Arquette, along with lesser known but equally impressive performances by Debora Unger and Elias Koteas. Not to be confused with the 2004 film of the same name, Crash tells the story of a film producer who becomes entangled in a strange group of people who are sexually aroused in car accidents. As such, it is the most extreme and interesting of Cronenberg’s studies of sexuality that boldly examines the implications of the novel’s bizarre premise. The film was initially controversial and only got 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. Crash has proven itself, however, with The Village Voice ranking him 35th.

3 The fly

A naked Jeff Goldblum crouches in his chamber in The Fly

20th Century Fox

A modern classic, Cronenbergs The fly both defined and defied the conventions of body horror. No other film, whether Cronenbergs or otherwise, can make the skin tingle as intensely as this film about an eccentric scientist (played by Jeff Goldblum) who accidentally transforms himself into a fly hybrid creature. While The Fly is a remake of a 1958 wild movie, Cronenberg gives this story a perfect blend of monstrosity, body transformation, and romantic drama, all enhanced by the standout performances of Goldblum and Geena Davis who plays his love. The Fly was released to massive box office hits in 1986 and became the most profitable film in Cronenberg’s career. Criminally, it’s also the Canadian director’s only film to win an Oscar, with Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis winning the Oscar for best makeup. Director JD Dillard expects a remake soon.

Related: 10 Most Terrifying Horror Movies from the 80s

2 Dead wrestlers

Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers

20th Century Fox

Cronenbergs. is considered one of the best Canadian films of all time Dead wrestlers is an amazing psychological thriller that perfectly captures the paranoia of modern urban life and the erosion of individuality that arises from interpersonal relationships. The film is based (loosely) on a real-life story about twin gynecologists who took advantage of the fact that no one can tell them apart to have sexual relations with their patients until one day everything goes horribly wrong. In Dead Ringers, Cronenberg uses his experience with horror to use macabre surgical instruments to create a highly stylized and horrific universe and to combine it with one of his most complex depictions of psychosis. Jeremy Irons plays both the dominant Elliot and the submissive Beverly in a doubly skillful performance. Dead Ringers is a challenging but groundbreaking film that explores the conceptual boundaries of the self like no other. It is the ultimate expression of the dramatic and more subtle macabre elements that permeate Cronenberg’s filmography.

1 Videodrome

Debbie Harry in the videodrome

Universal images

The most typical “Cronenbergsche” film, Videodrome usually comes to mind when you mention your name – and for good reason. Videodrome is a visually sophisticated and conceptually provocative examination of the relationship between society and entertainment and technology. Starring James Woods, Sonja Smits and Debbie Harry (from the band Blondie), the film follows the manager of a television station who comes across a show of extreme violence and torture and decides to produce something similar. The plot can barely explain the immersive experience of this body horror classic, which features a surreal and futuristic landscape with mutated hands and seductive televisions (and a scene that turns a man’s stomach into a VHS cassette deck). The film is a blurry depiction of conspiracy, mind control, and the way media can make us lose reality. It is considered to be one of the weirdest films of all time, but it is also Cronenberg’s best film.

Crimes of the Future details will be revealed when more is seen in David Cronenberg's sci-fi thriller

Crimes of the Future details will be revealed when more is seen in David Cronenberg’s sci-fi thriller

Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux join Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future as more details are now revealed.

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Juan Velasquez
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