A brief review of Ngozi Onwurah’s Welcome II the Terrordome

In a just world, a virus of tremendous scope and tenacity would ravage all the archives and vaults and shelves, all its servers and drives, its dens and libraries. It would draw no distinction between digital or analogue, bootleg or licensed. The CDC would be baffled: it appears to be crystalline in structure, yet its rate of replication is unprecedented…  Pundits would lose their shit on air, terrified that the virus might mistake them for the already-recorded and snake their throat mid-speech. Amazon would go on full lockdown: nothing in, nothing out, its long-rumored drones circling on updrafts, training red dots on anything that moved. Other rumors abounding, like how a conspirator’s union of ex-Blockbuster execs and the remnants of local videostores were behind it all. Still, it would creep through plastic and code alike, invading mancaves and Netflix queues, no matter the firewalls or plastic sheeting or shotguns. We would be held in thrall, in disarray. But despite the fears of those who lie awake and hear it rifling through code and celluloid, its endgame would not be to spread to the human body. Its symptoms would be simple: whenever it encountered a reel or MP4 or DVD that contained The Help or The Butler or The Intouchables or The Legend of Bagger Vance or Get Hard or Hitch, it would consume all the data that makes them up and leave in its place Welcome II the Terrordome.

But if this was a just world, Welcome II the Terrordome would not exist. It would not be entirely necessary, which is what it is. Maybe that’s the case for any of those rare things that actually deserve to be called political film: they need to be seen, as often and by as many people as possible, but they exist precisely because the order of the world is posed in full against that possibility, its hackles up and Bagger Vances ever-ready for immediate deployment. They could only be about this world, unmistakably so, but it’s this world alone that they exist to ruin.