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New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - ANTIBIRTH

antibirth movie review
A hard partying girl begins to display strange symptoms.







Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Danny Perez

Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Mark Webber

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Weird can be fun. There is something exhilarating about throwing out the rule book and flouting convention. Letting that freak flag fly... But there is something to be said for structure and logic that I guess I’m just old fashioned about because, well gosh darn it, I like my film conventions. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to those old fuddy duddy notions such as beginning-middle-end, characterisation, story arcs and that old chestnut – coherence.

Antibirth stars Natasha Lyonne (of Orange Is The New Black and American Pie), as Lou, who is first seen drunkenly carried away non-consensually at a party whilst onlookers and friends turn away as if this were a commonplace occurrence.

A short time after the party Lou is seemingly displaying all the signs of pregnancy and is confused, as she cannot recall recently having sex. So far, so rapey, but just when you start to get uncomfortable with the film's treatment of such a serious subject, it takes an unexpected and completely bizarre twist that makes it a completely different movie.


antibirth

Also starring Chloe Sevigny (American Psycho and American Horror Story: Asylum), with a strange supporting turn by Meg Tilly (Agnes of God and The Big Chill), this is a very difficult film to define and review.

Lou is a hard drinking/partying kinda gal, no subject is taboo and she is graphically descriptive of all her bodily functions. It is a testament to Lyonne’s likability onscreen that she can make this character someone you almost warm to. There is nothing wrong with a character being an alcoholic party animal whose only goal seems to be scoring or smoking or eating, but to make that her entire personality is stretching the friendship. The fact that she has no redeeming qualities yet still ends up being our most reliable narrator and guide through this acid-trip of a movie says something about the quality of the film and its supporting characters.


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Sevigny is reliably solid as always and its good to see Tilly on screen, even if she only exists here as some kind of ‘bad vibes’ conspiracy-junkie medium who is presumably supposed to be the mouthpiece for the exposition needed to make sense of this movie, but in the end only serves to spout verbal diarrhea that does nothing but muddy the already convoluted plot.

I don't think this film is much of a horror; it dabbles in the body horror sub-genre but doesn’t stay there, and the horrors it affords within this arena are nonsensical and do not serve the plot.

This is a fever dream of a movie – all jarring psychedelic garage music (friends of the director?) and grotesque faces and imagery, odd flashes of colour and dialogue that hurts your head. It’s a bad trip on mushrooms right there on the screen.

And the ending? It will have you “WTF”ing, and not in a good way.


antibirth

It boggles my mind that director Danny Perez managed to get the cast that he did, but because he did we at least are treated to some fine performances here, with the horror genre once again foremost in casting females in lead roles. It’s a pity these actors weren’t given something better to work with.

All in all - ugly, weird, confusing, over-long and pretty darned unpleasant.

But at least it was original.

Antibirth is on DVD and VOD now.



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