Directed by Danny Perez
Starring Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Mark Webber and Maxwell McCabe-Lokos
On UK Digital platforms March 27th and DVD April 10th, 2017
Watch on iTunes or Amazon
Buy on DVD from HMV or Amazon
by Joanna Orland
Trying to shock more than entertain, psychedelic B-movie horror Antibirth brings Danny Perez’s experimental filmmaking skills to life in an incoherent fashion. Antibirth is potentially the weirdest, most gruesome anti-drug propaganda out there. It also comments on society’s disregard for women approaching the end of their fertility cycle, and perhaps gestures a vague nod to America’s neglect of its army veterans. In spite of its dubious social critique, it remains a soulless, shallow film.
Natasha Lyonne stars as Lou, a strung out woman in her mid-to-late thirties who, after years of substance abuse and a visually graphic miscarriage scene, had believed her womb was done for. Lo and behold, she finds herself pregnant with her body transforming rapidly and in disgusting Cronenbergian ways, in this abstract body horror.
Chloe Sevigny plays Lou’s friend, Meg Tilly her wannabe saviour, and none of it makes much sense. Lou parties hard and carries on in spite of this odd pregnancy which basically means this film has no stakes and no chance of audience engagement – it is merely a gross out fest, which is fine for some. For others looking for a bit more substance, or even coherence, this film doesn’t offer much outside of a great performance by Natasha Lyonne and a light feminist commentary.
Antibirth made its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in the offbeat Midnight strand, alongside films including Yoga Hosers, The Greasy Strangler and Under the Shadow. Potentially the most abstract and odd of this eclectic bunch, Antibirth resembles one of director Danny Perez’s Animal Collective music videos more than it does any of these films. Hazy and surreal, the visuals allude to the story rather than the plot playing out intelligibly on screen. But if you catch the ‘subtle’ clues, you know this is a film involving aliens – but in what capacity, you won’t be quite sure of until the end. And even then, you may still not be sure why.
A gross out B-Movie horror that could be grosser and either more humorous or more scary to reach its full potential, Antibirth never quite achieves anything more than a bland hallucinatory watch with a wretched foot boil popping scene.