Lise’s review published on Letterboxd :
I tend to give horror movies a pass when it comes to certain issues including the portrayal of women. I don't know why I do this. It probably has to do with the fact that I am quite unfamiliar with the genre, and I expect women to be portrayed as stupid yellers who can't walk or run without falling, dial a telephone number because they are so shaken, or get the hell out of a house because they are too busy running up the stairs where they will be trapped. So yeah, I don't expect much from the genre.
But this... this one, oh boy. This one made me question Cronenberg as a human being. This one made me dislike the man. It is bad enough that the women pretty much all want to please their man no matter how much the men deserve a few good slaps, or that every single young woman in the film takes her shirt off (and why don't the older women?), but to equate eroticism with rape, well that took the cake. I mean that really pissed me off to no end. Yeah, I know, it was the 70s. Yeah, I know, he was a guy in the 70s. Yeah, I know, guys in the 70s probably all thought that rape was about sex, as many still do to this day. These are the big things that pissed me off to no end, but there are other reasons I hated this film (not that I really need any).
To all young filmmakers out there, could you please not shoot scenes that are oh so easy. When you are about to shoot a scene of a creepy crawler making its way into a bathtub, how about you have a guy taking the bath instead of a woman. Yeah, we know you all want an excuse to see some boobies, but how about you overcome that silliness and have a guy in the tub instead, you know, to be different. And don't forget to have him scream for 5 minutes. Doesn't feel right to you? Yeah, I didn't think so. You've always seen women in the tub and that's the scene that is familiar. A guy in a tub screaming just ain't the same, is it.
Ok, try this. How about you have woman who goes about slapping hysterical men who can't stop running around and screaming like banshees? This woman says stuff like: "Don't move. Stay right here and I'll go see what's going on", and then have the man all scared and undecided and of course he moves and gets into trouble, and then the woman comes find him and saves him, and helps him get up and helps him walk to the nearest chair.
Yeah, I know. That would be too weird, wouldn't it.
Ok, enough of my rant. Point made. But do yourself a favour. If your scene would look terribly stupid with a man in it, it is just as stupid with a woman in it.