Antibirth (2016) Movie Review

Reviewed by Jonathan Weichsel,
MoreHorror.com

Antibirth is written and directed by Danny Perez. The film stars Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny, and Meg Tilly.

Antibirth is billed as a psychedelic horror film, which is what interested me in seeing it. While the film does have one striking psychedelic scene right in the middle, for the most part Antibirth is more drunk than high.

Antibirth is about a heavy-drinking, whip-it huffing, drugged-out woman, Lou, who mysteriously becomes pregnant, even though she doesn't remember having had sex in the last six months. Of course we know right away that the fact that she doesn't remember having had sex doesn't actually mean that she actually hasn't, but she doesn't seem to know this, and neither do the other characters. As her pregnancy progresses she shows unusual symptoms, but instead of taking any meaningful action she just mopes around.

The cast of Antibirth is all around excellent, the film's desolate, snowy Midwestern setting adds atmosphere, and the depiction of drunk, drugged out thirty-something year olds is spot on. There is also something fun about watching the two main girls get totally wasted as they sit around Lou's trailer and watch TV or drive around or whatever. The big problem with Antibirth is that Lou is too passive a protagonist to really hold an audience's attention. Because she doesn't really seem to care what happens to her, neither do we. This isn't the actresses' fault. It's the fault of a script that doesn't give her very much to do.

The psychedelic scene in the middle of Antibirth, which is the basis of the film's marketing, is excellent, but the problem is that there isn't enough of it, and it really doesn't have much to do with the rest of the film. It's more of a red herring then a revelation, in that it serves as misdirection instead of moving the plot forward.

You see, the girls like to watch TV when they are stoned, and sometimes the TV they watch takes on a hallucinatory flavor because, you know, they are hallucinating while they are watching it. The hallucinatory TV plays into a dream of Lou's, but in the end it all doesn't go anywhere. If the hallucination were followed by more hallucinations, and they served to help Lou solve some sort of mystery or something, or played into the main plot in some sort of meaningful way, I would have dug it.

The final scene is also excellently done, and will please any fan of 1980's and late 1970's cult horror. But as with the psychedelic scene, there just isn't enough of it. The ending is outrageous and totally out there, which I love, but it was only one short scene.

I loved the realistic depiction of an aimless alcoholic druggy woman, I loved the snowy Midwestern setting, I loved the psychedelic scene, and I loved the gory final scene. But, as great as all these elements are, they never really add up to a whole.

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