Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
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

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Watermark
3 Star Empire Rating
They Came Together
3 Star Empire Rating
Attila Marcel
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Antichrist
You may never forgive us for recommending it.


submit to reddit


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

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Antichrist
Empire Star Rating

RE: Finally seen it!

L: mattitude L: HIM I'm pretty sure the fox saying 'Chaos reigns' signals the start of Chapter 2: Pain (Chaos reigns), not the final chapter, The Three Beggars. ctually no... the fox is the END of Chapter 2...hence why the chapter's title has Chaos Reigns in it. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but it bugs me how everyone seems to focus on the violence and gore. It's not the main focal point of the film, its just one of many integral parts. The constant feeling of dread ... More

Posted by Deviation at 19:11, 13 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Finally seen it!

L: HIM I'm pretty sure the fox saying 'Chaos reigns' signals the start of Chapter 2: Pain (Chaos reigns), not the final chapter, The Three Beggars. ctually no... the fox is the END of Chapter 2...hence why the chapter's title has Chaos Reigns in it. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but it bugs me how everyone seems to focus on the violence and gore. It's not the main focal point of the film, its just one of many integral parts. The constant feeling of dread throughout the fi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mattitude at 14:50, 13 August 2009 | Report This Post


Lars Von Trier succeeds at dividing audience opinion...

Despite all controversy, Lars Von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’ is a rare, thoughtful and innovative film. Despite touching on certain themes that some cinema-goers may find offensive, despite depicting, at times, what some would consider to be deeply alarming scenes of violence, overall the cinematography and storyline of Von Trier’s piece can do nothing but impress and intrigue. Whether it be by means of the rare episodic narrative of the film or the enigma coding cleverly use... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WhiteRabbit23 at 13:24, 10 August 2009 | Report This Post


one of the most beautiful and yet the most horrifying movies i've seen. Its not for everyone but its great filmmaking at its best... surely! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cece at 14:48, 09 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Finally seen it!

I'm pretty sure the fox saying 'Chaos reigns' signals the start of Chapter 2: Pain (Chaos reigns), not the final chapter, The Three Beggars. ... More

Posted by HIM at 10:17, 09 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Finally seen it!

Like most of Lars Von Trier's films,this is a hard film to like,and reveals the director's deep misogyny far more than anything else he's done. However,it's also imposssible to ignore,and makes for a highly original,if not exactly enjoyable,experience. After a really quite beautiful,slow motion black and white opening anything happens in the first half,but an amazing sense of unease is created by clever use of sound and the odd jarring visual,and you feel the story could go a number of differ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 20:47, 08 August 2009 | Report This Post


Finally seen it!

I didn't hate it but I didn't think it was wonderful either. I should say Lars von Trier is one of my favourite directors along with David Lynch and so a film where he attempts to mimic Lynch at every turn/sound effect should have me moist in the aisles but sadly von Trier's attempt to 'do a Lynch' was admirable but wanting.   For starters, the Epilogue looked stunning and was a fantastic start to the film. There was some nervous laughter from a guy with his (male and fe... More

Posted by losthighway at 23:35, 02 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: demoncleaner L: kenada_woo What did I take from the film?  Well....when the satanic woman idea started getting thrown about and shit started to hit the fan, I threw everything out of the window about this being an "intellectual" exercise in horror.  Its not.  To me its LVonT trying to make his european 70's exploitation flim.  What happens in the film while graphic and screams "I didnt really need to see that, did I?" arent entirely removed from the "nunsplota... More

Posted by kenada_woo at 16:17, 01 August 2009 | Report This Post


Antichrist on a bike!

More a despair film than a horror film, it has a few interesting shots and techniques that will probably be ripped off by more commercial horror films. Not much of an attempt at narrative, and the dialogue spelled out the themes of the film too explicitly. But it had a cock spunking blood, and that's more than you can say for Transformers 2. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by timmcollins at 15:58, 31 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: kenada_woo What did I take from the film?  Well....when the satanic woman idea started getting thrown about and shit started to hit the fan, I threw everything out of the window about this being an "intellectual" exercise in horror.  Its not.  To me its LVonT trying to make his european 70's exploitation flim.  What happens in the film while graphic and screams "I didnt really need to see that, did I?" arent entirely removed from the "nunsplotation" films of the 70'... More

Posted by demoncleaner at 14:49, 30 July 2009 | Report This Post


Anti Christ's crime is that it's boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Review_Anti Christ Anti Christ the "shocking" and "Provocative" new film by Lars Von Trier has generated mountains of reviews which is clearly what it set out to do. Some critics have called it beautiful,poignant,meditative,a masterpiece while others have denounced it as wicked, cynical and exploitative. Both these views give it too much credit.Anti Christ is dull.Don't be fooled by the intellectual clap trap talked about this film.It's really just a very bad ho... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by theoutsider at 13:59, 29 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

Thankfully my local arthouse cinema in Sheffield (you know the one adam! ot Antichrist for a second week (along with Moon ll be seeing Antichrist this Sunday all being well. Big von Triers fan; Breaking the Waves is one of my fave films ever and although it's gonna be an unpopular opinion... Mark Kermode is a complete wanker! Did anyone one see him being challenged by an audience member on The Culture Show a week or so back - you talk about Chris Tookey being a snob, believe me this b... More

Posted by losthighway at 16:12, 28 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

L: Lex Romero I mean, it doesn't help that Odeon's own website recommends it with this: liked 'The Omen' and 'The Unborn', you'll love 'Antichrist'.sm=biggrin.gif]/quote] Not sure what the greater untruth is here - the comparison between those movies and Von Trier's film; or the insinuation that somebody, somewhere liked orn ... More

Posted by Neth at 23:50, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

L: adambatman82  I cant understand how anyone would go to Antichrist without actually knowing what to expect though, given the press its garnered thus far. ou'd think, but the posters that are up for it, just the black page with the "contains real sex, scenes of violence and genital mutilation" bit on it, do indeed seem to be leading to a lot of people thinking it's some kind of (I hate this expression) torture porn film.  I mean, it doesn't help that Odeon's own website recommen... More

Posted by Lex Romero at 23:06, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: kenada_woo L: adambatman82 L: kenada_woo NB - also my 2nd LVT film next to The Idiots and a few The Kingdom episodes so I was viewing it as a horror rather than a Lar Von Trier horror.  was going to bring this up. I wondered how it played to those less familiar with his work, as Im a big fan of his eighties work and think this slots in nicely alongside Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark. ike I mentioned, it reminded me of a 70's European horror film, no... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 22:49, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: FritzlFan Before I watch Antichrist (I probably wouldn't be allowed entry to the screen anyway) I'll try and see atleast two of his films - I haven't seen any yet. Breaking the Waves will be the first one I'll watch - it's on YouTube, but with the sex scenes taken out  just a shame that it doesn't have a great DVD release. eah, its a pretty rough experience too. You should check out The Element of Crime too, his first film from 1984(?), as its genuinely great. His earlier films ar... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 22:45, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

L: adambatman82 L: fletch666 L: Neth Saw this last night. Despite being a big Von Trier fan, I tried to approach it as subjectively as possible. And I'm still not quite sure what to make of it all. Suffice, there's a ton of striking imagery - the slowed-down shots of Gainsbourg (and later Dafoe) crossing the forest are eerily beautiful - and the performances are strong. The script's not so hot, with some clunking on-the-nose dialogue and an over-reliance on psycho-babble. I ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by impqueen at 20:50, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: adambatman82 L: kenada_woo NB - also my 2nd LVT film next to The Idiots and a few The Kingdom episodes so I was viewing it as a horror rather than a Lar Von Trier horror.  was going to bring this up. I wondered how it played to those less familiar with his work, as Im a big fan of his eighties work and think this slots in nicely alongside Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark. ike I mentioned, it reminded me of a 70's European horror film, not afriad, taboo-br... More

Posted by kenada_woo at 19:36, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Before I watch Antichrist (I probably wouldn't be allowed entry to the screen anyway) I'll try and see atleast two of his films - I haven't seen any yet. Breaking the Waves will be the first one I'll watch - it's on YouTube, but with the sex scenes taken out  just a shame that it doesn't have a great DVD release. ... More

Posted by FritzlFan at 19:29, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: kenada_woo NB - also my 2nd LVT film next to The Idiots and a few The Kingdom episodes so I was viewing it as a horror rather than a Lar Von Trier horror.  was going to bring this up. I wondered how it played to those less familiar with his work, as Im a big fan of his eighties work and think this slots in nicely alongside Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 19:23, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Now then....its not exactly Hannah Montana 3D now is it?  SPOILERS It really is an odd film to generally critique or review IMO.  I think Chris Hewitt's mild review at Cannes said its a film he couldnt recommend or enjoy it...but its good, very good, if you catch the drift. I agree with what others have said.  Its beautifully made and shot with some lasting imagary.  The violence in is eye popping (or more eye watering) just for its sheer balls and tendency not to ... More

Posted by kenada_woo at 18:47, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

L: fletch666 L: Neth Saw this last night. Despite being a big Von Trier fan, I tried to approach it as subjectively as possible. And I'm still not quite sure what to make of it all. Suffice, there's a ton of striking imagery - the slowed-down shots of Gainsbourg (and later Dafoe) crossing the forest are eerily beautiful - and the performances are strong. The script's not so hot, with some clunking on-the-nose dialogue and an over-reliance on psycho-babble. I counted eight walk-... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 18:09, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: steveg66 The Daily Mail's off again. Yes, their critic gets on my tits. One of the biggest puritanical snob bores I've ever read. Bambi's mum being shot was torture porn for him.ou, I believe Mark Kermode didn't like it much (more because it's pretentious crap) and he's my favourite reviewer. to his own! 1 star as I haven't seen it yet. ermode loved Antichrist, he even gave it film of the week. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 18:07, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: grrr!

L: Neth Saw this last night. Despite being a big Von Trier fan, I tried to approach it as subjectively as possible. And I'm still not quite sure what to make of it all. Suffice, there's a ton of striking imagery - the slowed-down shots of Gainsbourg (and later Dafoe) crossing the forest are eerily beautiful - and the performances are strong. The script's not so hot, with some clunking on-the-nose dialogue and an over-reliance on psycho-babble. I counted eight walk-outs from a cinema ... More

Posted by fletch666 at 17:15, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


I agree with steveg the daily mail critic can't seem to open his eyes, he is such a snob. I remember him giving Superbad a turkey not even 1 star both films may be to everyones taste but he needs to get that stick from out of his ass. Haven't seen it yet so 1 star. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hadyn89 at 15:28, 27 July 2009 | Report This Post


Previous pageMore user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video Interviews: The Stars And Directors Talk As Above, So Below
We talked to Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and company about their underground horror…

The Future Of Film: All Big Blockbusters Will Be Shot At 48 FPS
Our month-long series begins discussing the innovations that will shape cinema

Video Interviews: Chloe Grace Moretz And Jamie Blackley Talk If I Stay
The stars, director R.J. Cutler and co-star Joshua Leonard talk YA adaptations

Gillian Robespierre And Jenny Slate Talk Obvious Child
Director and star on their acclaimed rom-com

The Empire Podcast #126: Jon Hamm Talks Million Dollar Arm, Mad Men And Beards
Plus Richard Ayoade pops in to talk about directing The Double

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)