Kristina told me this was the date movie of the year; I thought this was going to be one where the people kiss in the rain and that real handsome dude is like, “if you’re a bird then I’m a bird” and then she gets Alzheimer’s or something? Antichrist? No? That’s what? The Notebook? Shit.
Honestly, I came into Antichrist pretty well-prepared to hate it. Several months ago, Kristina told me that she had really liked Lars Von Trier’s Melancolia and wanted to see Antichrist and I agreed to watch it with her, but then we found that Nymphomaniac vols 1 & 2 were going to be playing at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ so we just saw those instead. And boy, did I wish I was dead.
Okay, that’s not entirely fair. Nymphomaniac vol. 1 is kind of a fun porno and Christian Slater is always welcome in my life. Vol. 2 was like having your nether regions sandblasted and then jumping into a salt bath with the open wound. Nope nope nope nope. We’re not here to discuss Nymphomaniac, but please keep in mind that it is 86 hours long and Kristina and I just saw both volumes in recent months. Because of this, I honestly feel as though I have spent literal weeks of my life watching Charlotte Gainsbourg weep, writhe and get boned. I just cannot anymore, so much so that I have to wonder if anyone has ever had sex with LVT. It seems as though he found out about the mechanics of sex and became FASCINATED and that’s as far as it went until he decided that all kinds of terrible things can happen to people’s genitals.
Here are the good things about Antichrist: it is undeniably beautiful—every single shot. The first act is absolutely heart-wrenching. It is sort of fascinating that the two characters of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are the only characters in the entire film (less their dead son). When the fox LITERALLY SAYS “chaos reeeeiiiigns” to Willem Dafoe I lol-ed for like three straight minutes. When blood comes out of Willem Dafoe’s peepee I clapped my hands over my face then lol-ed for like five straight minutes.
Here are the bad things about Antichrist: pretty much everything else. A person who really likes this movie recently described it as “a slow burner” which I guess is a positive spin on something that I would call extremely tedious. I had trouble getting lost in it; I ate a bunch of soup, thought about what I was going to wear to work the next day, went to the bathroom twice, and so on. At one point I asked Kristina, “wait, why is this woman afraid of the grass? Because her kid died?” and she said, “because he asked her where she’d feel most vulnerable? Women are weak, see?” and that’s really how the first 75% of the film feels. Things certainly shift in the third act and I won’t spoil them here, but at no point is there a favorable treatment of the “She” character.
There’s plenty of internet space devoted to arguing over whether Lars Von Trier is or is not a misogynist so I’ll not spend more of it here except to point out that part of the budget of this film was spent on the hiring of a ‘misogyny specialist.’ K.
Look, it’s obvious that my tastes in horror run to the lowbrow and the silly, the tasteless and the shallow. Antichrist is not really any of these things…it’s artsy and I guess it’s deep. But I don’t want to watch horror to debate whether it’s misogynistic, you know? To get real with you for a second, -turns chair around and sits down backwards, AC Slater-style- I have to deal with misogyny in many aspects of my daily life. I am a female financial advisor. I am a female sports fan. I am a woman who lives in a city who sometimes has the audacity to walk on public streets. I know people who tell me not to be soooo sensitive. Quite frankly, I want horror to be an escape from reality, not another reason to reflect on it and another avenue in which I have to defend my feelings. Ahem. Because this feels too real for my blog where I make terrible jokes and terrible cartoons in a terrible image creating program, -turns chair back around and sits like a reasonable person- this is also kind of why I refuse to go to haunted houses around Halloween even though they ought to be right up my alley…it’s too goddamn real for me! I like to keep horror as a bizarro fantasy world of killer clowns and crazed rednecks and murderous home invaders on a screen far, far away from me…not shit that is actually real and in my face and possibly going to touch me even though I know they are not allowed to touch me.
So, Antichrist. You can see this if you like to talk about stuff and feel real feelings, or if you enjoy genital mutilation (you sick freak.) And since there was not a single scene that I felt like I could reasonably illustrate for this blog, please enjoy this rendering of Kristina and me eating soup.