82: Antichrist (AHHHHHH)

Antichrist – October 23, 2009
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Written and directed by: Lars von Trier

The plot: “A grieving couple retreats to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.” – IMDB

My thoughts: Oh God, I finally saw Antichrist and now that I’ve seen it, well, I’m a person who’s seen it. I didn’t go into the film saying, “Hey now, is this about religion? Is this just gratuitous porn? Is this a documentary? Is that The Green Goblin’s naked ass on the cover, there?” I had read all about Antichrist down to every plot point over a year ago so I knew exactly what I was getting into. I’d managed to delay actually seeing the movie until last week when I opted to write a paper about it for my Extreme Horror/Torture Porn film class.

Good times. So, I spent my Saturday night in bed watching Antichrist, eating coffee ice cream and wondering what my life had become.

The opening sequence is absolutely gorgeous – yes, even the up close sexy time genitals. Von Trier (or is it just Trier? It must be von Trier because Captain von Trapp wasn’t just Captain Trapp, he had that von in there) shot the sequence in slow-motion black and white, but it was this beautiful, smooth black and white that was so pretty I had a brief thought where I hoped there was no color at all. The lighting was just impeccable.

I could get into the whole analysis of the film. Is it misogynistic or is it misandristic? Is it just gratuitous or is it meaningful? Who is in the wrong – She or He? Believe me, it was all covered in my paper and I’m a little bit tired of all of the analyzing and symbolism and metaphors.

In general, it’s a more extreme film than I’m sure most people would anticipate or consider watching. It was like Blue Valentine meets a horror film – the deterioration of a marriage paired with some horrific imagery and actions. I’m going to tell you all about the movie. Read on for spoilers or my just incredibly hilarious commentary.

So basically, She (Gainsbourg) and He (Dafoe) are having sex in the opening scene and are too busy puttin’ it to each other to see their son fall out of their window. She goes kind of crazy and He thinks he can cure her by bringing her to their cottage, Eden, in the woods. But She’s not just “My son died” crazy, She’s “atypically” super crazy crazy and the fact that her son just died didn’t help. So they decide to go but She is apparently terrified of nature, so He tries to help her and tries to understand what She is really afraid of. At one point She states that nature is Satan’s church and that everything is dying. Throughout this, He has interesting encounters with nature – a repulsive encounter with a deer and a fox eating itself before saying “CHAOS REEEEEIGNS!”

They engage in a lot of intense angry/hate/grief sex.

Then shit gets real crazy. First, he finds her thesis work. Initially, she had set out to prove that gynocide (the idea that women are inherently evil) was wrong, but apparently, she started to believe it. Then, He finds some pictures of their son with his shoes put on the wrong feet, so He thinks to himself “Peculiar. Maybe I’ll just go ahead and check out my son’s autopsy which I just so happen to have brought with me on this little therapeutic vacation with my wife,” and wouldn’t you know it, his feet are all deformed but He was too preoccupied with other stuff to notice. Only now he knows that his wife is maybe a bit screwy in the head. When he confronts her, she starts screaming about how he’s going to leave her. Then she rips his pants off, pulls her own pants down and starts to have sex with him. Then, she gets off of him and slams his penis with a big block of wood.

This is real talk. I’m not kidding. But it gets crazier.

Then, she proceeds to give him a handjob whilst he’s passed out, only it’s not the usual stuff that comes out of his man bits, it’s blood and she seems hardly perturbed by it. Instead, she goes and gets a manual drill and drills through his leg and bolts a big metal wheel thing to him so he literally cannot leave her. Also, she’s walking around the forest without pants on. It seems her fear of nature has taken a backseat to this business.

He wakes up and is, as one might guess, totally fucking horrified. So he crawls around and finds himself a nice fox hole. He climbs in and hides but then a bit of the ground starts moving and he decided to investigate it. It’s a crow, buried alive by his wife (because animals don’t bury themselves or other animals alive, people apparently bury animals alive). So he helps it out then the crow unsurprisingly starts screaming bloody crow murder. She hears the crow and starts losing her mind. Now, if she could just remember where she buried that damned thing! He freaks out and starts beating it to death with his bare hands.

Then she loses her mind some more and accidentally kind of buries him alive, too, but eventually drags him out. Then she drags him back to the house and tries to have some more sex before she decides to cut off her own clitoris with a pair of shabby scissors. (At this point, I’ll admit, I wussed out and covered my eyes because I could not watch an up-close shot of a lady hacking away at her parts). Then He gets the wheel thing off of his leg and he strangles her to death.

Finally, He leaves the house, eats some berries, and then a few hundred women start walking toward him in the woods, all with their faces blurred.

So, was it any good? I don’t know, it was all right, I guess. I’m not sure that von Trier set out to make a “good” film so much as he wanted to make something. At the time, he was going through a depression and wanted to prove to himself that he could write a script and make a movie and that’s what he did.

It was beautifully shot, the acting was incredible, and it was an experience.

Stars: 3/5

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4 thoughts on “82: Antichrist (AHHHHHH)

  1. I did not know what to make of ‘Antichrist’ when I first saw it and I still don’t to this day. Very good evaluation and approach to tackling the film!

    If you are in need of a film to watch for your extreme horror class, you should try to see ‘Begotten’, which is available to watch on YouTube. That is a film that will spark some discussion.

    -Steve

    • It’s definitely a hard movie to figure out whether you like it or not. I’m at least very certain I didn’t hate it or love it. And thanks for the recommendation – I’ll be sure to check it out.

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