Lars von Trier’s censor terrorising, award winning 2009 horror film Antichrist was the first film I saw from the Danish art house Director and its beauty, graphic violence and almost pornographic visuals left me stunned for days. For the last couple of years I’ve been trying to get my girlfriend (who disliked Melancholia more than I did) to watch it, in part because I knew it would disgust her. Much to my relief it did. Antichrist is one of the most violent and certainly the most sexually explicit film I’ve ever seen but it isn’t simply a trashy exploitation Tits & Guts horror, it is a well crafted, beautifully made and deeply traumatic horror film.
Antichrist begins with a prologue featuring a married couple who are never named (Willem Defoe & Charlotte Gainsbourg) making love in super slow motion. The scene is filmed in black and white and using a camera capable of capturing a thousand frames a second. While the couple pound away their young son climbs out of his cot and heads towards an open window before falling to his death. The couple enter into the grieving process in very different ways with the husband taking a clinical approach while the wife spirals deeper and deeper into depression. The film is divided into chapters which mirror Gainsbourg’s emotional state with Grief being followed by Pain and Despair. The couple make the decision to relocate to a cabin in the woods but the wife’s emotional state takes a dark and bloody turn for the worst.