Written and Directed by Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is a 2009 horror film that does not subscribe the conventional themes and formation of the modern day genre. While not classified as a gore film, this film is rather explicit. The masterfully crafted opening scene, which would leave any director envious, featured a shot during a sex sequence depicting full penetration which, for the most part, has been a taboo in cinema.
This film’s departure from modern horror elements begins with the simplicity of its plot. After the death of their son, a couple retreats to their cabin in the forest so he, Willem Defoe, a psychiatrist, can treat her, Charlotte Gainsbourg. There are no subplots, other characters or unexpected twists; only a linear story line.
This is not a negative element, by any means, as von Trier’s cinematography, combined with the arrangement of scenes, forms a strong sense of character development. This can be said too for the scenes depicting gore. The film received a great deal of criticism in regards to the genuine nature of its violence; however, these scenes are employed as plot device to further the characters, rather than the standard shock value. The realism of these scenes draw the audience into the twisted setting of the film.
This film functions as an commentary, of sorts, on a few philosophical quandaries, such as misogyny and human nature. Unlike most films of this nature, it does not take itself too seriously. This is illustrated in a scene where a fox looks up and says “chaos reigns” while ‘he’ is not phased.
A curious topic regarding this film is its name: Antichrist, which seems to be wholly irrelevant to the story. It could be said that this is the element of the film that is most comparable to modern horror.
This film is not for everyone; however, those who enjoy it, will love it, while everyone else will passionately hate it.