David Cronenberg Makes the Longest Movie of His Career and We Can’t Wait

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Updated

viggo mortensen

David Cronenberg, who downplays his cinematic legend by declaring himself to be a self-professed “Canadian filmmaker,” has a new movie coming out in September. 10 years ago, it seemed like he was done making movies, but he’s back in the director’s chair and breaking his own records. The Shrouds, his upcoming film, has a run-time of 119 minutes, making it the longest of his storied career. 

A Horror Legend

david cronenberg scanners

David Cronenberg has been making movies since the 1970s. His interest in film began while he was still in college when he switched his major from science to English language and literature. After graduation, he started a partnership with another renowned Canadian filmmaker, Ivan Reitman, and throughout the 1970s, Cronenberg began making a name for himself with his brilliant take on “body horror.” 

What Is Body Horror?

Body horror in film is a subgenre of horror that deals with the destruction, decay, and unnatural transformation of the human body. As it confronts disease, a parasite, or some other force attacking it from the outside, viewers watch as the human form undergoes grotesque and appalling shifts from recognizable to inconceivable. 

Breaking Out With Scanners

The filmmaker established his expertise in this field in his 1970s films Shivers, Rabid, and The Brood. By 1981, when David Cronenberg released Scanners, his name was on the lips of every avid film fan and critic paying attention. The movie, about a weapons corporation attempting to use people with psychic powers for its own nefarious uses, runs 103 minutes long, typical of Cronenberg’s style. 

The Fly

While Scanners took time to become the cult classic it is today, The Fly was released to instant applause. In 1986, Cronenberg’s film is about a man, played by young stud Jeff Goldblum, slowly transforming into a fly, to the horror of his girlfriend, played by Geena Davis, and the audiences looking on. 

Time With Star Wars

Since that time, David Cronenberg has written and directed many more films, not all of them body horror, but all of them with a clear eye for visuals. He was even considered to direct a Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, after praising The Empire Strikes Back as the most beautiful sci-fi movie ever filmed. He has also made several films with acclaimed actor Viggo Mortensen, including Eastern Promises and A History of Violence

Back In The Saddle Again

So, you understand the critics’ and audiences’ excitement upon hearing that we are about to be treated to another David Cronenberg gem, and that it seems to be a return to his body horror specialty. Even better, the film will be just one minute shy of two hours. While we don’t know much yet, aside from its expected release in September, we have a basic synopsis of The Shrouds

The Shrouds

The upcoming horror centers around a man, played by Vincent Kassel, who has designed a cemetery with video cameras inside of the caskets and television screens above the burial plots. The idea is that mourning loved ones can watch their dead decay in real time, ideally making the grieving process easier. Ideally? 

Problems arise when someone starts desecrating the graves and the cemeteries for no clear reason. 

Classic Cronenberg

The film is all the more interesting to fans of David Cronenberg, who know the screenplay is loosely based on the filmmaker’s own experience of grieving for his wife, who passed away in 2017. Diane Kruger plays the wife in the movie, and she has expressed her own excitement at getting to play three different roles in the story. 

The Shrouds is a much-anticipated, gloriously long film, and while we wait, we can always go back and rewatch the extensive body of work David Cronenberg has already completed.