I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I can easily be wrong about a project, especially when it’s in its nascent stages. So much changes over the course of production, and sometimes a logline can’t do a premise justice. But I can’t wrap my mind around anyone remaking Videodrome. And yet, today Deadline reports that Adam Berg, who has directed popular commercials, is on board to helm a remake of David Cronenberg‘s classic film. Ehren Kruger, who’s been attached to the project since 2009 and is the screenwriter behind such masterpieces as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Reindeer Games, scripted the remake.
For those unfamiliar with the original film, it’s about a TV executive looking for the sleaziest possible content for his channel, Civic TV, and comes across the disturbing show “Videodrome”, which causes him to have disturbing hallucinations. According to Deadline, Berg and Kruger plan to “modernize the concept, infusing it with the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.” Hit the jump for my reaction.
Videodrome is a challenging film. It’s also a signature movie for Cronenberg. It is an essential movie in his filmography, and features themes he has continued to revisit. Nano-technology, nor any kind of technology, has anything to do with it. That’s one of the reasons Cronenberg’s Videodrome is great. The film never attempts to explain why Videodrome would cause hallucinations and drive its protagonist, Max Renn (James Woods), insane. The “how” of Videodrome is unimportant. It’s what the show represents. And what it’s presenting is a world where TV can literally rot your brain. When we watch movies and TV shows about sex and violence, we change our relationship to those things and in so doing, change ourselves. Videodrome breaks down the barrier and twists its protagonist to the point where he believes his flesh has absorbed a handgun.
I know remakes can be harmless because the original will still be there for anyone to watch. But it’s just wrong. It’s wrong for Berg and Kruger to be so lazy that they want to hop on someone else’s hard work, and then completely miss the point of what that work seeks out to accomplish. If they really want to make a movie about “the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller,” then they don’t have to attach the name Videodrome to it. It’s not like the name “Videodrome” will draw a mainstream audience. The only people it will draw are the people who don’t want to see a remake of Videodrome. For Kruger and Berg to name their movie “Videodrome” simply comes off as ill-conceived at best and parasitic at worst.