Director – Lars Von Trier
Cast – Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsburg
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Probably the most talked about “non-wide release” film of the year, Antichrist wowed the crowds at Cannes Film Festival this year and is a prime example of a love/hate film. Most of this film’s viewings at Cannes consisted of half the crowd walking out of the viewing due to the film’s graphic nature, and the other half of the crowd delivering standing ovations at the film’s closure. Director Lars von Trier is known mainly for his very artistic and meticulous approach to filmmaking, and is also no stranger to controversy. Although most of his films are not very controversial, Mr. Trier’s comments regarding American film have not been too kind. I have a feeling he will not be casting Chuck Norris in any of his films. Ever.
This film stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving couple still mourning the loss of their young son, who suffered a fatal accident while they were having sex. The accident is still affecting Charlotte’s character(she was never named) and her husband, who is a therapist, decides it would be a good idea for her to recovery psychologically at a cabin they have at a place they refer to as “Eden”. At first his idea for her recovery seems to slowly be working, but as they dig deeper into her psyche and stay longer at “Eden” she begins to turn for the worse, and all hell breaks loose.
Right from the opening scene you get the feel that this film is going to be a bit “different”, and in a very good way. I must honestly say that my favorite scene in the entire film is the opening scene. The music, the cinematography, everything is perfectly done and is outright beautiful. The fact that Lars von Trier can work in such beauty in such a graphic and macabre way shows the artistic genius of this narcissistic arsehole. This is not so much a “horror” film in the typical sense, and that surprised me. When I first heard of this film, it had some very horrific elements attached to it. I mean, cmon, the title is Antichrist for crying out loud! However this film turned out to be more along the lines of psychological horror, with a very misogynistic twist to it.
Ever heard the phrase “women are crazy”? Well obviously Lars von Trier has, and he decided to exploit that to the max with this film. I wont go too much into detail, but Antichrist really goes deep into proving that women are the root of all evil as you see Charlotte’s character go completely batsh*t on Dafoe, and worse. This film has gotten a bit of negative reactions from women who feel this film treats women unfairly, and although that may be true, this is a very creative addition to the horror realm and frankly I do not give a damn at this moment.
So you may be wondering what makes this film so “messed up”, well…have you ever hard of sexual torture? If the misogyny doesn’t get you, the graphic sex in this film may do the trick. I wont give away what happens to our character’s sexual organs, because that would ruin the shock value. I will, however, go as far to say that you probably have not seen anything like it, at least not shown on camera in a film.
What really impressed me the most in this film, made this such a genius effort is the film’s use of symbolism. Told in four chapters with an additional epilogue at the end, pay attention to the use of each animal displayed in each chapter. If this film means what I think it means, then this has to be one of the most creative horror films of all time. And if it doesn’t mean what I think it means, then this film is trash and only meant to be “beautiful porn”, but I highly doubt that.
Overall, this is an excellent film that is sure to shock it’s viewers, and whether you find that good or bad, the fact that you will remember this film forever is GOOD to me.
- I listed this film as an “Honorable Mention” in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(1-10) post.