Denmark (dir. Lars von Trier)
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Willem Dafoe
Synopsis: A grieving couple retreat to ‘Eden’, their isolated cabin in the woods, where they hope to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.
Review: “Antichrist” is a dark, and bizarre film shot with a remarkable amount of care and great attention to detail and aesthetics. It’s a film that you may try to convince yourself into believing you have figured out or in some way understood, but in the end you are still left with a large number of unanswered questions and somewhat of an unresolved storyline. If you are into surrealistic cinema with occultist undertones, you’ll definitely enjoy this film. It’s essentially a darker, more surrealistic version of “Farmhouse”.
“Antichrist” is the story of a couple, suffering through the painful aftermath of the (preventable) death of their only child. The film opens with a wonderfully shot sex scene, probably the most artistic and beautifully filmed sex scene in the history of horror films, which is coupled with the slow-motion death of their son (son falls out of a window while the husband, “He”, and the wife, “She”, make love). What follows is literally a descent into madness as the husband and wife decide upon conquering “She’s” fear of the forest (and thus, her guilt over the death of her child) by spending some time in their remote, isolated cabin. From here, we delve into some back story, namely that “She” was working on a masters thesis involving women and witchcraft. There is also a major revelation later on where “He” discovers that “She” may actually have caused the death of their child, I won’t spoil how she did it, but wow, is it ever completely fucking twisted. Literally, twisted.
Not many films go so far into torture territory that they actually show full on genital mutilation, but “Antichrist” is luckily (or unluckily, depending on how sick you really are) one of those films in which penis smashing and clitorectamy is by no means unventurable. I wasn’t so much sickened by the fact that this specific type of torture was included in the film but more so torn between the why? Misogyny was my immediate reasoning as to why the whole genital mutilation scene was included, because the film is very much a misogynistic work in my opinion. The film itself, from beginning to end, gives you a very disturbing outlook on women. There’s not so much a hatred of women inherent in the film’s story and presentation, but more so a general feeling of fear towards women. The film shows women as temptresses, prone to uncontrollable emotions, prone to closer affiliations with nature (and the occult, i.e. witchcraft) than men, and as generally evil and malicious. A lot of negative things can be said about having these representations of women in this film, but on the flip-side, I think it’s great to have women represented as a possible source of evil and destruction and not always have to rely on a male force (as is almost always seen in horror).
Other than the numerous forays into surrealistic scenes, usually which revolve around nature and vague satanic rituals, and some very torture porn-esque ventures into mutilation, there isn’t really much “horror” in the film itself. There’s a great story supporting the backbone of the film and aesthetically, the work is essentially an art house piece. Unfortunately you never get the complete picture of the movie; a lot is left unsaid, unexplored, unresolved. You may very well end up feeling lost while watching this movie; it is very much not a conventional movie going experience. I, however, think it’s still a great film that leaves itself open to interpretation. Even though that can be frustrating, the film at least leaves you with a beautiful mystery.