Antichrist (2009)

antichrist poster 2009 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Shocking and tension building

There is a story there, but it feels like it could be fleshed out better

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Antichrist

Studio:  Zentropa Entertainments/Zentropa International Köln/Slot Machine

Genre(s):  Horror/Drama

Release Date(s):  May 18, 2009 (Cannes)/May 20, 2009 (Denmark)/July 24, 2009 (UK)/October 21, 2009 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

antichrist charlotte gainsbourg willem dafoe

Trust me, honey…I’m a man…I know what is right

A husband (Willem Dafoe) and his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) suffer a tragic loss…and now must come to terms with it.  Going to their remote cottage in the woods, the man decides he has the best way to help his wife face the horror they experienced.  As they spend more time in the dark woods, disturbing events begin to occur, and the woman is getting more and more aggressive…something is going to break.

Written and directed by Lars von Trier, Antichrist is a horror psychological thriller.  The film was divisive among critics and met with censorship and bans.  The film is considered the first part of Lars von Trier’s Depression Trilogy with Melancholia (2011) and Nymphomaniac (2013).  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #542).

When Antichrist was released, it was one of those “you won’t believe how crazy this movie is” type of movies.  In not rating it and facing challenges about decency and stuff, it automatically peaks interest.  I started to watch Antichrist once and intended to return to it…but by then it became more difficult to find.  I finally was able to sit down and watch Antichrist (and it was something).

antichrist falling acorns willem dafoe

I can take bad sex, stillborn deer, and talking foxing that are eating themselves…but falling acorns?!?! I’m out!

The debate easily is Antichrist good or not…and it is one of those hard movies to nail down.  It is dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky whose films often raise a similar question.  The movie isn’t a film structured in a way that you can say “there’s the plot”.  The film faced criticism of sexual abuse toward women and blaming women since it is implied that the wife (the characters are unnamed) had been physically abusing and harming their child before his death…but it also seems kind of anti-men because the husband is clearly portrayed as a guy who thinks he knows better than anyone (he skips the idea that he shouldn’t be treating someone he knows).

Both actors give it their all…while you could argue that Willem Dafoe is really the lead, but Charlotte Gainsbourg gives better performance as the raging wife.  She is so emotionally destroyed from the death, but there is also possible Munchausen syndrome by proxy…which generally benefits the perpetrator someway by getting attention.  The wife hadn’t used the attention before her son’s death so it is unknown why she was doing it.

antichrist millstone through leg willem dafoe

I’m starting to think treating my wife wasn’t my best idea…

The movie is very visual.  Lars von Trier used some of Tarkovsky’s shots in his story, but there is a great sense of dread hanging over the whole film.  The movie has a lot tied to animals and death, and the popular gif “Chaos Rules” of a fox stems from the movie.  It is a pretty movie, but it is also extremely graphic.

Antichrist is rough, but movies like Caligula and Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom are probably worse in the graphic portrayals.  It isn’t a movie you sit down and watch with the family.  With good performances, great visuals, but a story that might or might not be smart, Antichrist if nothing else can be debated…and it will be debated for years…Chaos Rules!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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