Skip to content

Antichrist (2009)

March 11, 2010

6/10 Counterfeit PHDs 

You are not ready for this movie. Man, no one is ready for this movie.

Antichrist is about a husband trying to help his grieving wife after their kid falls out a window and dies while they’re preoccupied with doing each other. Being a shrink who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, the husband decides that the best course of action to help his wife recover is to go spend some time in the one place in the world she fears most: a cabin in the woods where she and their son once spent time together. Lo and behold, the husband realizes a little too late that his psychiatric opinion has the value of a festering turd as they shack up in the woods and some truly bizarro shit starts to go down.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Lars von Trier movie, the last one was probably Breaking the Waves a couple of years ago (which I’ve been meaning to revisit), but if you’ve seen any movie by the guy, chances are you’re like me and still haven’t forgotten the name. See, Lars von Trier doesn’t make movies for you to sit back and enjoy, Lars von Trier makes movies that challenge, disturb and push the envelope so far down your throat that you’ll be crapping out stamps for weeks.

Such is the case with Antichrist, and despite the charming title, my previous run-ins with LvT and the alarming buzz I’ve heard about this movie, I was still very much shocked with what I found myself watching. But before you write this off as a high-brow Hostel, let me justify the 6 out of 10 up there first.

As far as horror movies go, I can’t think of too many entries in the genre that have balls anywhere near as large as Antichrist‘s. Even if I told you every last wacko, fucked up thing that goes down, you might not even believe me and even if you do, you still won’t believe that it’s actually happening. There’s shock value to go around on this one, but it doesn’t feel cheap for once, it feels like there’s purpose behind it even though it’s undoubtedly gonna be a little much for some. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “brave” or anything, it’s just not often that I come across a truly no-holds-barred movie like this that spirals towards the extreme without coming off as absurd.

It’s an arresting two hours in regards to its haunting, yet beautiful visuals coupled with a totally out-there script that’ll make you shudder straight on through, but the actors are really what bring it all together. Willem Dafoe is good as the husband – which is more or less a given – but the Trooper of the New Millennium Award goes to Charlotte Gainsbourg as the wife. I can’t imagine what would compel her or any woman to sign on for this movie after reading the script, but whatever the reason, she really puts her all into it and deserves a lot more recognition than she got. It’s too bad that the Academy would never, ever recognize a movie like this, because she should have at least gotten a Best Actress nod. 

But does it work as a horror movie? Oh yeah, it works. Does it work as a meditation on loss? Eh, not so much.

I’m still not really sure what the hell happened during the last 30 or 45 minutes, which is a big part of what held this back from a 7, but that’s also a big part of what makes it all so numbingly eerie and jaw-droppingly strange. Other than that, not really sure what exactly it was that von Trier was trying to say with this, but there’s definitely something there even if it did go right over my head.

Folks, feel free to enlighten me on this one.

I read in an interview with Willem Dafoe that von Trier was in a pretty dark place when he wrote this script, and, boy, he ain’t kiddin’. Antichrist is a hard movie to swallow and even harder to form a real opinion on, but all I know is that it taps into the depths of horror in ways that movies rarely do. Unfortunately it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense either, but get ready for something totally nuts all the same.

And to my surprise, not a sacrilegious movie. At least I don’t think it is…

14 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2010 5:27 am

    Saw this in the cinema and after Fantastic Mr fox shouts “chaos reigns” nobody could take this one seriously. I love my horror/gore but just thought this one was FAR too much. Bit of a massive drop in form. Good shout on Breaking the Waves though: Dancer In The Dark, Element of Crime and Europa are all worth checking out too.

    • March 11, 2010 11:41 am

      Yeah, LvT does go totally overboard and I’m sure if I saw this in a crowded theater I’d be laughing at the talking fox, too.

      Definitely need to watch more of his stuff though. Got about an hour into Dancer but had to stop when my roommates walked in and wouldn’t stop commenting on how fucking stupid it was. Will revisit one day.

    • Kevin permalink
      March 11, 2010 8:57 pm

      When the fox talked, it looked exactly like Gmork from Never Ending Story.

  2. March 11, 2010 11:26 am

    I did not enjoy this movie at all. The opening was brilliant but then it was a doozer for the first hour until all hell broke loose. The remaining of the movie, I still understand what the hell happened. Lars Von Trier probably revels in the controversy and shocking aspect of this movie and I don’t see any point to it.

    • March 11, 2010 11:42 am

      Can completely understand and respect that. This thing is pretty out there alright.

  3. March 11, 2010 4:06 pm

    I enjoyed Dogville, couldn’t really get Breaking the Waves, and have yet to see Antichrist. Hope it comes out at Redbox.

  4. Branden permalink
    March 11, 2010 4:37 pm

    This movie was in my top films of the year. It’s a matter of how much you can handle. I saw this movie and I was shocked.

    Von Trier said that he wasn’t even trying when he wrote this story. He creative juices were empty. I could totally see that, but it was something with the Charlotte Gainsbourg that stuck in my mind all this time. She went bat shit crazy is this movie, but you understand how she is feeling.

  5. March 11, 2010 10:13 pm

    Thought the first five minutes were gorgeous, all the rest was ‘meh’ or lvt trying too hard to gross me out.

    Your review was spot on.

  6. March 12, 2010 6:34 am

    When Paragraph Films said “nobody could take this one seriously” depending on his meaning either completely missed the point or completely got this movie. If you were to take Lars von Trier literally or seriously it could drive you mad.

    I think the film is totally open to personal interpretation what I took from it was that through the central themes of Grief, Pain and Despair and with self defeating characters von Trier is exploring the ideas of self destruction and Nihilism in society, religion and humanity as a whole.

  7. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    March 16, 2010 2:57 pm

    You sucked me in, Aiden. I can’t not see this now. Even if I ain’t halfway ready for it.

  8. May 22, 2010 2:21 pm

    This movie is crap.

    Every psychotic bastard can make psychotic movie like this.

    Don’t watch it, you will regret every minute wasted.


  1. Melancholia (2011) « Cut The Crap Movie Reviews

Drop that knowledge!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: