Antibirth (2016) – Horror
Directed by: Danny Perez
Starring: Natasha Lyonne and Chloe Sevigny
How I Watched: Netflix
Review by Eric Scot Lemons
So there is this movie on Netflix called Antibirth and it is basically about Natasha Lyonne getting super pregnant despite not having sex after her recent miscarriage during a drunken bender in some white trash, creeptown tavern. I was interested in seeing this movie when it was On Demand through my local cable provider around Halloween time, but then I saw 31 by Rob Zombie instead. So once it came on Netflix, I was all, “Hey that’s the lady from Orange is the New Black and Slums of Beverly Hills and But I’m a Cheerleader, plus it has Chloe Sevigny, and they both play burnout, drug addict lowlifes and I really like films like that. So I watched it.
But this movie is fucking weird. And generally, I say that in the most lovingly complimentary way possible, but this movie, not so much. The best way to describe this film in a completely derivative fashion is that it is like Cabin Fever meets Rosemary’s Baby if directed by Rob Zombie in an attempt to woo Harmony Korine. The characters are white trash, but in that punk rock way that only independent filmmakers tend to see them; larger than life, spewing profanities like phlegm at the slightest provocation while taking bong rips and shitting with the door open. Natasha Lyonne is really wonderful in this film, but her character is so surreal in a ‘Gathering of the Juggalo’ masturbatory fantasy, that the fate that befalls her seems apropos at best.
So the meat and potatoes of the plot is just that she gets infected with some mutated mutant sperm injected by the always great, Mark Weber, who is a pimp and drug dealer, and must carry this strange thing to term. It is pretty straight up Cronenberg body horror, but probably thinks it is feminist because is has to do with motherhood being forced or some shit. Towards the end, with a belly as big as a big belly, Lyonne hobbles around with a cane imposing herself in the search of answers. She looks exactly like Danny Devito in Batman Returns. It is fucking hilarious. But the answers come in the form of some X-Files bullshit about who cares.
The culmination of the film results in her giving birth to some neon glowing goomba from Super Mario Brothers, THE MOVIE! And while it is comical, the third act feels like the best parts of William Friedkin’s Bug. We spend so much time in movies hearing the protagonist say, “I know this sounds crazy, but…” and we are like, yeah it sounds crazy but I believe you cause I saw all this happen. But there is a large part of AntiBirth that feels like this is just the final broken piece of brain matter shuttering off in a broken person’s schizoid delusions. You can imagine the reality of a woman, no bun in dat oven, screaming about secret government programs and mutant embryos and shit, and it is just kind of sad.
I noticed, after seeing this film, I would describe it to others much like I described it to you, using other film’s references to make a point. And I believe that is the fatal flaw with this film. It doesn’t feel, despite its erratic editing and music that sounds like STP, like it has its own voice. It is a pastiche of punk cinema and Marilyn Manson music videos and Liam Lynch pre-internet creativity. It is boring to look at cause we have already seen it. It doesn’t shock. It is just weird.