From least favorite to favorite.
15. Cosmopolis – Robert Pattinson has very little to do, and he is the lead! The source material was bizarre and it feels like bringing this to the big screen was meant to amuse Cronenberg more than an audience.
14. Spider – Ralph Fiennes has a good performance but the story is far too sedate and internalized to really be entertaining.
13. Crash – A preposterous concept that seems determined to provoke while offering little entertainment value.
12. A Dangerous Method – As our director ages, he has become more restrained. Never moreso than this (mostly) dry study of disturbed characters, some more obviously than others.
11. ExistenZ – Not a bad entry, yet it seems like a retread of some earlier themes plus the ending is a total cop-out.
10. Scanners – Some of Cornenberg’s most arresting images are in this movie, but audio that is out of sync, a thin story and some technical problems abound and ‘Scanners’ tends to be overrated by many people despite these facts.
9. Shivers – This was very early in the director’s career and despite having limited resources, demonstrates a lot of potential.
8. Videodrome – One of Cronenberg’s most famous works hasn’t aged particularly well but still has enough striking visuals to warrant a viewing.
7. A History of Violence – A sudden turn to more realistic territory is mostly a wildly successful crime drama.
6. Dead Ringers – Understated yet still disturbing. You have to be patient with this one, but the brilliance of Jeremy Iron’s performances is obvious.
5. The Brood – Another oft-forgotten early entry that is a little straightforward but the ending is still a doozy.
4. Eastern Promises – The high point of Cronenberg’s collaboration with Mortensen.
3. Naked Lunch – A bizarre adaptation of a bizarre book by the heroin-addled mind of William Burroughs. It’s incomprehensible at times but is entertaining.
2. The Dead Zone – People forget about this but it is so good.
1. The Fly – Yes it’s a remake but it’s also amazing. Where the original was a bit campy, this is disturbing.
* I have yet to see ‘Rabid’ and ‘M. Butterfly’ so they have not been factored into this.
The Dead Zone
The Dead Zone is a Stephen King story that some people seem to forget about. At the time of this list, I still haven’t read it and I have read all of his other ‘classic’ novels. Either way, the movie is great.
Eastern Promises is a reunion between Cronenberg and Mortensen. Who knew that exploring the Russian mafia in London would be so exciting?
Naked Lunch proves that if you adapt a wacky novel by a wacky writer, you’ll get a wacky movie. It shouldn’t work and by some definitions, it still doesn’t, but it is one heck of a ride. You’ll never sniff pesticides again.