Q: What happens when a highly artistic, overly sensitive, sex obsessed, hipster indie director goes into a downward spiral of depression while crafting his latest film?
A: Pretentious film-fest wienies’ loss is Horrorthon’s gain! Welcome to the horror world Lars von Trier, you crazy motherfucker, you! Apparently von Trier was freaking out so hard during the creation of this film that he actually sent the actors home during the auditions as (presumably) everything was just too intense and he couldn't handle it. Fortunately his suffering is our reward (which also happens to be suffering).
Antichrist hits the ground running in true dramatic fashion. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe (character names are never divulged) are passionately making whoopee while their son plummets to his death in the next room. The look on her face as she achieves orgasm expresses both ecstasy and pain.
The child's death leaves her understandably distraught. Dafoe disapproves of the professional help she is receiving and, because he’s a therapist he feels he’s better equipped to guide her through the healing process. (I can sense JPX and AC shaking their heads in disapproval for this unprofessional behavior.) He takes her to their remote forest cabin called “Eden” where she and the child spent the previous summer together.
This “Eden” is the exact opposite of the one depicted in the Bible. This is a place where nightmares flourish and the depths of evil in nature and mankind are explored. We get to know an awful lot about these two characters, perhaps more than we ever want to know. They engage in therapy, philosophical discussions about nature, and copious amounts of violent sex. I won’t reveal anything more but I deem this required viewing for anyone who can stomach the more extreme modern horror movies.
Did I mention the graphic genital mutilation? I don’t consider this a spoiler, rather something that you would probably like to know before making the decision to give Antichrist a spin. Guys will recoil in absolute horror after witnessing what happens to Willem’s willie. But fear not! There is an equally alarming scene for the ladies.
Von Trier’s overall message isn’t clear. What is obvious is that he made this movie to shock and offend his audience and perhaps cleanse his soul in the process. Reviews were mostly positive in Europe but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that much of ‘Merka found it offensive and depraved. I very much enjoyed scouring the reviews from outraged Dancer in the Dark fans on Rotten Tomatoes. I couldn’t rate it higher because I don't think it could withstand multiple viewings. Also I don't think I could withstand multiple viewings. Still, it is a bold, unapologetic force to be reckoned with and handily the breakout horror flick of the year for me.