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eXistenZ (1999)

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A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.


3,778 ( 229)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kiri Vinokur
Hugo Carlaw
Seminar Leader
Robert A. Silverman ...
D'Arcy Nader
Noel Dichter
Male Assistant
Kirsten Johnson ...
Female Assistant
James Kirchner ...
Balázs Koós ...
Male Volunteer


Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game's perspective. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A game to live or to die for. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sci-fi violence and gore, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Existenz  »

Box Office


CAD 31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$810,262 (USA) (23 April 1999)


$2,840,417 (USA) (18 June 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (workprint)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Two Producers of the film are Hungarians, so it is not by chance that the X and the Z of the word "eXistenZ" are capitalized, since the letters between them make the Hungarian word "isten," which means "god." See more »


The first time we see Ted Pikul at the trout farm, he labels an envelope with the letters LA. The L is clearly connected to the A. However in the next shot with the envelope on the conveyor belt the L and A are no longer connected. See more »


[first lines]
Seminar Leader: eXistenZ. Written like this. One word. Small 'E', capital 'X', capital 'Z'. 'eXistenZ'. It's new, it's from Antenna Research, and it's here... right now.
See more »


Referenced in eXploitation CinemA (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Get ready for one wild ride!
25 April 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

By far the most bizarre and inventive films from David Cronenberg, and a film that is sure to become a cult classic. The story cannot easily be summarized in a small review without spoiling the movie completely, so you'll have to see it for yourself.

The special effects are well done, but thankfully not overdone. The film relies mainly on the chemistry between Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law, who plug in and out of the game throughout the movie, and what is actually the real world become less clear as the movie goes on. The violence and carnage, which Cronenberg has become famous for, certainly catches you off guard at times. In fact, some scenes will send a shiver up your spine. The acting is superb, with Jennifer Jason Leigh playing a convincing hero, while Jude Law is excellent as the uneasy, often unwilling participant in her mind-boggling game. Willem Dafoe is, as always, a treat to watch as the mysterious, intimidating, and off-the-wall characters he is so good at playing.

eXistenZ is the most unusual Cronenberg film to date, and that is saying something when comparing to his earlier movies like Shivers, Scanners, and Videodrome. It has a great script, great direction, and the idea behind the film is pure gold. Cronenberg is definitely one of the most daring and original directors of our time.

51 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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