In Eastern Promises, Cronenberg juxtaposes the quest of Anna (Naomi Watts) to find the relatives of a dead Russian girl's infant with Nikolai's search for acceptance within the family of crime boss Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl).
On its slick gray and black noirish surface, Eastern Promises doesn't resemble offerings like 1979's The Brood, 1983's Videodrome, 1986's The Fly, or 1996's Crash, films that bound Cronenberg's name to that of the phrase body horror. But one can't help but glimpse the filmmaker's themes in the starry ciphers on Mortensen's form.
So what does Cronenberg think of so-called body horror today? "I think nothing!" he exclaims with a comic snort. "It does seem kind of ridiculous. When you think of it, horror is about mortality, and it's about mortality seen as a very physical event. That's what, to me, horror films are about. To me, the genre is about the body, really."
Opens Fri/14 in Bay Area theaters