553 user 193 critic

eXistenZ (1999)

2:01 | Trailer
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.


David Cronenberg
3,697 ( 460)
3 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Allegra Geller
Jude Law ... Ted Pikul
Ian Holm ... Kiri Vinokur
Willem Dafoe ... Gas
Don McKellar ... Yevgeny Nourish
Callum Keith Rennie ... Hugo Carlaw
Christopher Eccleston ... Seminar Leader
Sarah Polley ... Merle
Robert A. Silverman ... D'Arcy Nader
Oscar Hsu ... Chinese Waiter
Kris Lemche ... Noel Dichter
Vik Sahay ... Male Assistant
Kirsten Johnson ... Female Assistant
James Kirchner James Kirchner ... Landry
Balázs Koós 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


Play Or Be Played. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jennifer Jason Leigh had already finished shooting her role in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) when she took on this role. When her scenes in that movie required re-shooting, the schedule required for it interfered with this one. Leigh chose to stay on this movie, and her role in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was re-cast. 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 »


References Road Rash (1997) See more »

User Reviews

Where do we come from? From virtual reality, sure.
25 August 2004 | by dfpmSee all my reviews

David Cronenberg is doubtlessly one of the greatest directors alive and in activity (along with Lynch, Kiarostami, Kitano, Moretti, Oliveira, Rohmer, etc). Having seen almost all of his films (excluding "Dead Zone", "The Fly" and "M.Butterfly"), I have this somewhat rare opinion that "eXistenZ" is one of his masterpieces. It seems to me that this film was hugely misunderstood, culminating with the stupid idea of comparing this film to "Matrix", a rather worthless and meaningless piece of nonsense. Here in "eXistenZ", we have instead a very dense and deep meditation on the mystery of reality, of our inability to apprehend where do things come from. The characters appear and disappear as if moved by some mysterious agent, which remains inhapreenshible. Being Cronenberg a professed atheist, we can only arrive at the conclusion that each world which is presented to us and to the main characters comes from their own mind, which, nevertheless, only constitutes a part of the human body (it is now hazard that the characters have access to the game by means of something - a game pod - which is implanted into their bodies). Cronenberg stated many years ago that all reality is virtual; so, in this film, the use of the plot-device of virtual reality is a huge metaphor to the virtually of reality, as our director sees it.

62 of 116 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 553 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



UK | France | Canada



Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Existenz See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$810,262, 25 April 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed