This abstract horror film begins with a vivid black and white sex scene opening in which it looks like Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainesbourg are actually doing the deed. As a married couple copulating, Dafoe and Gainesbourg writhe in slow motion unaware that their baby boy (Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm) has gotten out of bed and is walking around their apartment.
Their son climbs to the ledge of an open window. He falls to his death in the snow below.
From there the film changes into color, but it's not that colorful. Dafoe and Gainesbourg Pale light bathes Dafoe and Gainesbourg's skin with gray tones setting the mournful mood.
Gainesbourg is going out of her skin over her son's death while Dafoe, a therapist, tries to tend to her with his cold and clinical methods. Dafoe decides they should retreat to a cabin in the woods because nothing says horror like a cabin in the woods! I half expected them to find the "Book Of The Dead" there.
Shadows and light move through many gothic shots of the nature surrounding them and yep, strange evil things start to happen such as Gainesbourg calling their surroundings "Satan's garden" and a fox with a voice out of THE EXORCIST saying "choas reigns" to Dafoe.
Many other weird and disturbing things happen to the couple, none of which I feel like relating.
Sexual madness is an overriding theme with excruciating scenes of genital mutilation. Gainesbourg had been working on a thesis about genocide in the same cabin the year before so there's that too.
ANTICHRIST is full of incredibly lucid cinematography and excellent acting by its 2 leads (who are the only people in the film after the son's death), but it's a disgusting and dreadful work that I could not see the point of at all.
Director von Trier has previously made thought provoking and vital films like DANCER IN THE DARK and DOGVILLE, but this is a wretched work that I wouldn't wish upon anyone - even the former co-worker of mine that recommended Paul Haggis's CRASH to me.
However Criterion deemed the film worthy enough to add to their mighty collection, and I see many folks on the internet calling it a masterpiece, but I felt absolutely assaulted by it. To each their own I suppose.
The Criterion Collection edition contains the following special features: an audio commentary by von Trier and professor Murray Smith, interviews with von Trier and the leads, a collection of video pieces delving into the production, a documentary called "Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009", and a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie.
Or you can watch it with no frills on Netflix Instant. Just don't say you weren't warned.