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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Willem Dafoe
Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Directors
Lars von Trier.
Screenwriters
Anders Thomas Jensen.
Running Time
109 minutes

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Antichrist
You may never forgive us for recommending it.


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Plot
After the accidental death of their child, a therapist (Dafoe) and his wife (Gainsbourg) — listed in the credits only as He and She — retreat to a cabin in the perhaps-haunted woods to recover. Eventually, they turn savagely on each other and bloody mayhem ensues.


Review
Antichrist
Browse more images »
Lars von Trier has joked that he retells one story, about a long-suffering woman and a manipulative man who dooms her, in a succession of genres. Breaking The Waves was a melodrama, Dancer In The Dark a musical, Dogville a small-town exposé. This, evidently, is his horror film.

Antichrist is almost an anthology of nods to earlier horror-art achievements. The prologue, staged in monochrome ultra-slo-mo with operatic score and snowglobe snow (plus hardcore sex), conflates scenes from Don’t Look Now, as a couple are too busy making love to notice their toddler taking a fatal fall. Then, in the ethereally creepy woods, He and She are assailed by nature (acorns pelting the roof like hailstones, fungus/leech growths) as in the undervalued Australian film Long Weekend (the cabin evokes The Evil Dead too). This long, creepy section is the film’s most simple and successful act: deep, dark forests are invested with magic and menace, and the stars (alone onscreen for 99 per cent of the film) deftly reveal how cracked their characters are in jittery domestic rows which foreshadow extreme cruelties.

The mood changes when a fox pauses in the act of disembowelling itself and snarls, “Chaos reigns,” signalling a chapter called The Three Beggars in which the bereft parents are visited by the fox, a crow and a miscarrying deer (anti-Christian opposites of the Three Kings?) and She goes into Audition mode with acts of extreme sexual violence against her husband and herself. It risks gigglesome elements like the talking fox and made-up constellations, before provoking walkouts with video-nasty grue. Dafoe and Gainsbourg are wholly committed, though porn actors or prosthetics substitute for key close-ups. Dafoe inevitably recalls The Last Temptation Of Christ as he undergoes leg-piercing, entombment, stone-rolling and resurrection.

Like vintage Fulci (The Beyond) or Argento (Inferno), it breaks with reasonable storyline and leaves the natural world for limbo. After spending the film with only two characters, the sudden presence of huge crowds in the woods is startling, but more weird than meaningful.


Verdict
A star rating is not much help, since von Trier’s self-conscious arrogance is calculated to split audiences into extremist factions, but Antichrist delivers enough beauty, terror and wonder to qualify as the strangest and most original horror movie of the year.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Antichrist
Empire Star Rating

Chaos Reigns -

This is not for everyone - It is one of the most demented films I have ever seem - It is not conventional Horror - It is more disturbing than scary - ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 23:07, 12 August 2011 | Report This Post


saw it last night on sky movies premiere dafoe best performance since SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE gainsbourgh was in 21 grams but here she took my breath away lars von trier made one of my favourite films DOGVILLE genius film that went against hollywood this is made to not appeal to everyone strange disturbing brave atmospheric cinematography was amazing reminded me of INLAND EMPIRE one of david lynch best doesn't go for easy scares like all these horror remakes we see late... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bill the butcher at 18:32, 21 August 2010 | Report This Post


A couple lose their child and decide to get away to deal with their grief and repair their doomed marriage. The wife becomes mentally unstable as she blames herself, quite rightly, for their child's death while in they were having sex. As a psychiatrist the husband tries to help her through her grief while dealing with his own but to disastrous consequences. The cast of just 2 characters was effective and visually beautifully, while there were scenes of gratuitous horror. Something just didn... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zedphelan at 12:20, 21 August 2010 | Report This Post


Arrrghhh

This has to be the most boring horror film ever. It was beautifuly shot, it had a kind of Twin Peaks thing going on with the talking fox, I held out till the end, hoping for more, but didnt get it. the 2 actors played their parts very well, and cant be held responsible for the weak dialogue. there were a few good scenes, loved the whole sharpening stone bit, but other than that I was nearly asleep at several points in the film. shame, could have been so much more in another directors hands. 2 st... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sparkykelly69 at 09:13, 28 July 2010 | Report This Post


Very Creepy Disturbing Uncomfortable Nightmarish

Very Uneasy and genuinly quite scary but hauntingly beautifull at the same time nightmarish. Eden and the woods are a forboding and terrifying place. The sex scenes are necessary, its something to do with nature, it isnt out to shock just for the sake of shocking. Personally I giggled at the talking fox but I think Antichrist is a masterpiece. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 17:58, 20 May 2010 | Report This Post


Antichrist

Antichrist contains explicit scenes that are shocking simply for the sake of being shocking. I do admire how it is being seen as it was intended to be seen and hasn't been chopped down by a studio but it does occasionally get pretentious and often becomes timid and boring due to weak dialouge. The film never conveys a sense of it all being meaningful, and by the end you simply don't care because the image of ejaculating blood is engraved in your memory. A shame because this movie could have work... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 21:10, 22 January 2010 | Report This Post


Antichrist

Antichrist contains explicit scenes that are shocking simply for the sake of being shocking. I do admire how it is being seen as it was intended to be seen and hasn't been chopped down by a studio but it does occasionally get pretentious and often becomes timid and boring due to weak dialouge. The film never conveys a sense of it all being meaningful, and by the end you simply don't care because the image of ejaculating blood is engraved in your memory. A shame because this movie could have work... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 20:49, 22 January 2010 | Report This Post


Beautiful Nightmare

It's beautifully shot, and has a great performance by "She" but it's WAY too artsy and kinda disturbing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andr913 at 21:36, 15 January 2010 | Report This Post


warning...

may contain blocks of wood. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nukky at 04:11, 02 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Distressinly Disturbing.

I'm not sure what to make of the little I saw of Antichrist.  I probably made a bad decision in taking it out when I did, it was my mates birthday and he's into his horror films so I took it round to his and we were having a few drinks and a laugh.  Antichrist lasted 30 minutes before we had to turn it off, just wasn't the right film at the time apart from anything!    But I really wasn't enjoying it anyway.  I'm never sure what to make on some 'arty' films such as... More

Posted by lauriedunsire at 21:44, 01 January 2010 | Report This Post


Distressinly Disturbing.

From the first fifteen minutes of Antichrist, you know that you are going to go on a horrid and twisted ride that will leave you shocked and distressed. Yes, there are hard-core porn moments and the jaw-dropping acts of violence is something that won't be instanly forgotten. But it's the ending that left me slightly confused and annoyed that you go through a film that was constanly talked about, nearing banning it, then you see it for yourself and think what utter nonsense! Sure the only two sta... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 17:05, 30 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Antichrist

Can't say, but still it seems ridiculous to criticize a film for being "artsy". A failed art maybe but for being art? Would you criticize music, books, fine arts like that? I don't like Dali cause it's too artsy? I don't Elliot becuase he is too artsy? ... More

Posted by Deviation at 01:09, 10 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Antichrist

Thats what it is though, tryhard artsy. This film would have worked better as a painting than a film... ... More

Posted by DouglasG at 01:04, 10 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Antichrist

L: adambatman82 L: harley_quinn went to see this on halloween-not only a waste of money,but a waste of time too. it's indulgent,artsy boring nonsense. the few 'grim' parts only appear that way because they kinda smack you in the face,unexpectantly.the entire movie consists of psuedo-psychiatric therapy dialogue. the whole shock factor is down to theedly real) sex scenesimal torture. a long,drawn-out sex fest with about...10 minutes worth of interesting footage. and ... More

Posted by Deviation at 23:31, 08 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Antichrist

L: harley_quinn went to see this on halloween-not only a waste of money,but a waste of time too. it's indulgent,artsy boring nonsense. the few 'grim' parts only appear that way because they kinda smack you in the face,unexpectantly.the entire movie consists of psuedo-psychiatric therapy dialogue. the whole shock factor is down to theedly real) sex scenesimal torture. a long,drawn-out sex fest with about...10 minutes worth of interesting footage. and the movie's dark hea... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 21:35, 08 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Antichrist

went to see this on halloween-not only a waste of money,but a waste of time too. it's indulgent,artsy boring nonsense.   the few 'grim' parts only appear that way because they kinda smack you in the face,unexpectantly.the entire movie consists of psuedo-psychiatric therapy dialogue. the whole shock factor is down to the (allegedly real) sex scenes and animal torture.   a long,drawn-out sex fest with about...10 minutes worth of interesting footage. and the movie's dark he... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by harley_quinn at 17:53, 08 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

Big von Triers fan; Breaking the Waves is one of my fave films ever and although it's gonna be an unpopular opinion... e too! along with dancer in the dark ... More

Posted by dayglowjoe at 15:46, 27 October 2009 | Report This Post


No, No just NO!

There are several movies I'll not forgive Empire for recommending. Twilight and Termiantor 4 immediately spring to mind. However, though I hated this movie, I will say that some of the scenes were so beautifully shot that only an idiot would fail to recognize them. However and this is why I'm writing the review, can you imagine what would happen if two scenes (you know the ones) in thismovie were in Saw or Friday the 13th? Don't get me wrong, part of the reason I hated the movie was because of t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sephiroth7 at 14:54, 24 October 2009 | Report This Post


This a definately a film to watch at the cinema with a girl on your first date. She'll thank you for ever for imprinting the image of a woman mutilating her vagina on her mind. As a fan of classic horror movies such as the shining and dont look now I really enjoyed the movie. I checked my boxers afterwards and found a total of ten, TEN! Lumps of excrement. It's chilling atmosphere will really linger in your mind. Some reviewers called it mysogenistic, which is more of a statement concerning ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Smootle at 16:32, 02 October 2009 | Report This Post


It's no date movie that's for sure!

I saw Antichrist yesterday, before seeing it I deliberately avoided any reviews or descriptions of it. I had heard about some controversy but wanted to keep a balanced view and a clear head. It is in my opinion a beautifully shot film, the cinematography is great. The acting is first rate and holds together the intense story. Though some of the edits were slightly uneven in some scenes I just went with it. I can't believe how fast a lot of journalists have been to say "Ban this film"?... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Rich Empire at 13:25, 22 September 2009 | Report This Post


Antichrist

Lars Von Trier has to be one of my favourite directors with such films as Dancer In The Dark and Breaking The Waves and Antichist proves this again and in my opinion is his best film to date. The film brilliantly charts these two characters slow yet horrific descent into hell. Antichrist is slow burning, beautiful and troubling film that really needs to be seen to be believed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Soprano168 at 09:32, 18 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Antichrist

I'm just back from seeing Antichrist and I thought it was super. The posts I initiated earlier in this thread were drunken and deliberately facetious, playing off some notion I had earned of Von Trier some years previous after watching and deriding Dogville.  But I'm sure I hadn't the maturity to appreciate it then. And so I went to see Antichrist fresh from being blown away by Breaking The Waves at the weekend and found this no less adept...when it wanted to be.  I went in... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 21:44, 19 August 2009 | Report This Post


A very disturbing film, yet savagely beautiful. It explores all aspects from grief, arrogance, madness, utter horror, and revenge. Ofcourse it will always be devisive, but isn't it better to debate than just leave the cinema wondering why we ordered sweet popcorn instead of salty?? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by omarx at 00:10, 18 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Big up the talking fox!

Great, just what I was expecting, I would be suprised if the movie was not going to polarize. Same with me, though I havent seen it yet, I am expecting to either love or hate it. Hopefully love it, of course ;) ... More

Posted by CharlesBronson at 11:10, 17 August 2009 | Report This Post


Big up the talking fox!

Cinematically this is brilliant. Appropriate scores, feeling of dread and a distinct overarching sense of artiness. A film which involves the psychotherapist husband make use of a cognitive triad, near the end you realise where this is heading. Gory, yes, although what sticks in the head more is the random talking fox in the middle, which delivers a sudden bit of humour to a film which otherwise creates a mood darker than a wet November afternoon in Aberdeen. Definitely a Marmite film, the less ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by filmsunlimited at 01:26, 17 August 2009 | Report This Post


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