The Good: Most of the performances are convincing enough
The Bad: Horrible mood, Lousy characters, Fractured plot, Mediocre-at-best direction
The Basics: Long before anything remotely close to answers materialize, Antibirth is utterly unwatchable.
September is, sadly, known for schlocky horror films. In the pre-Halloween releases, most of the studios dump their horror movies, trying to get dumb college students to spend their parents' money when they want to go out and socialize and not see the Oscar Pandering Season's more substantive films. It's a niche market that I seldom pay attention to, but the presence of Natasha Lyonne headlining a movie again was enough to get me to notice Antibirth. While Lyonne has delighted fans on Orange Is The New Black (season 1 is reviewed here!), the last movie I recall her first-billed in was But I'm A Cheerleader! (reviewed here!) and that was quite some time ago.
Even Lyonne and her generally good performance is not enough to make the mess that is Antibirth watchable.
Lou is out partying with her friends and a bunch of local Marines when she blacks out and may have gotten raped by one of the locals. A few days later, she visits her friend, who suspects she might be pregnant. Elsewhere in town, Gabriel and Warren are holding Trish, a woman who supplies them with clean urine for passing drug tests. Trish has a facial deformity and has an urge for something in the guy's refrigerator that is being kept from her. Lou returns to her crappy apartment with her friend Sadie, who advises her to lay off the drugs until she knows if she is pregnant or not. After the microwave explodes in the apartment, Sadie and Lou go out to the bowling alley where the locals are turning one of their friends.
Lou goes out with Luke for a pregnancy test and then goes to work where she does drugs with her coworker. While at the motel she cleans, Lou encounters Lorna, a woman who has arrived in town and has a history with the military. Despite believing she cannot get pregnant and not remembering the circumstances by which she could have become pregnant, Lou takes a pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant. While Sadie visits Gabriel, Warren arrives to inform him that their chemist is dead and Sadie freaks out, concerned that the drugs they are distributing could have horrible side effects for Lou.
Antibirth is one of those films that I sat down to watch and soon became preoccupied with the notion of "who the hell is the audience for this?!" Antibirth is populated by poor, unlikable characters living in a run-down, filthy area doing stupid things. Lou is a completely unlikable protagonist and Sadie is a terrible friend, watching her friend get dragged away to get raped while blacking out. The drugs, long shots of Sadie doing nothing but dancing while high, babies in toilets and shots of piss and chemicals makes the viewer wonder what the intent of the movie is, even if they do not particularly empathize with the characters.
By the time Lou finds out she is pregnant and starts pulling apart pieces of her neck, Antibirth goes from being boring to unwatchably gross and pointless. Is it a conspiracy? Is there an entity? Is it a drug-addled hallucination? Are aliens experimenting on the residents as the man on the television suggests? The characters are nowhere near interesting or relatable enough to make the viewer care what the answers are and Danny Perez's direction is not compelling enough to make viewers interested enough to endure the process of discovery.
Antibirth is a storytelling mess that starts with a level of coherency that seems plausible only to someone who is high or tripping balls. Director Danny Perez has soft transitions that attempt a trippy feeling but because most of the narrative is neither clear nor interesting, the movie drifts along just being creepy.
Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny, and Meg Tilly are convincing enough as Lou, Sadie, and Lorna, but none of the characters are particularly interesting-enough to captivate the audience. The adequacy of the acting does not make Antibirth any more worth watching.
There are incredibly few films that I rate so low, but one of the consistent elements among the lowest-rated films I watch is this: they make me sick to my stomach just watching them. With Antibirth, I had that visceral of a reaction and given how the jumbled mess of a movie it was, Antibirth didn't do much to make my head feel good either. Somewhere, there might be a critic who is high or strung out who thinks Antibirth is brilliant. I am not that reviewer: Antibirth is just pure, unadulterated, crap.
For other horror films, please check out my reviews of:
The Blair Witch Project
28 Days Later
The Silence Of The Lambs
For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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