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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Antibirth movie review: bad baby bad

Antibirth yellow light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Dementedly creepy punk body-horror grossout comedy plays like a padded-out short. But Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny have a ball as cheerful wastrels.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): desperate for movies about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Somewhere just sideways of our world — like perhaps in the realm of Repo Man — perpetually wasted stoner chick Lou (Natasha Lyonne: The Intervention) wakes up one morning after a particularly weird night of partying and realizes that she’s pregnant. But not normal-pregnant: “I’m some kind of goddamn freak show,” she complains to her best friend and cheerful fellow wastrel Sadie (Chloë Sevigny: Zodiac), via what she declares “some weird immaculate conception shit.” (She hasn’t gotten laid in, like, forever, she swears.) And so this punk Canadian body-horror grossout comedy is off down a bizarre yellow-brick road of conspiracy theories about alien abductions, military experiments, seriously bad drugs, and a fetus that likes electric shocks and is growing way too damn fast. What the hell is Lou going to give birth to, and how soon? This first feature from video artist Danny Perez gives off a dementedly creepy vibe, and an audaciously original onetweet, too: the chipper way in which Perez offers up Lou and Sadie for our half-horrified, half-amused entertainment is, no joke, a blow for cinematic gender equality in the depiction of abject losers, and Lyonne and Sevigny are simply having a ball playing such delightful reprobatestweet. (Meg Tilly is a scream in a small role as a crazy lady who might have an explanation for Lou’s predicament.) But Perez’s vision — he wrote the film as well as directed — does feel a bit more like a man’s idea about pregnancy than a woman’s experience, and the whole shebang plays like a 30-minute short padded out to feature length. Still, Perez is clearly a filmmaker to watch.


yellow light 3 stars

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watch at home

Antibirth (2016) | directed by Danny Perez
US/Can release: Sep 02 2016 (VOD same day)

MPAA: not rated

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • LaSargenta

    Hmmmmmmm……

    This might be a good candidate for the Fans Of Flick Filosopher Gang to have at a watching party.

  • Danielm80

    I actually want to have a pre-election Watching Party. Possible films include:

    Face in the Crowd

    Idiocracy

    The American President

    The Spook by the Door

    Bob Roberts

    And maybe something written by Garry Trudeau.

  • LaSargenta

    Well, I’m not sure I could take that much. I’ve seen all of them once, probably only would be willing to watch The Spook Who Sat By The Door again. Maybe The Candidate (which wasn’t on the list). Bob Roberts is great and I recommend it to people a lot, but I remember having a knot in my stomach most of the time watching it when it was in theaters and don’t want to re-watch.

    So, here, on this thread, I was just thinking about this film. Sounds like it might be too much for the expectations of a theater showing, but might be just right for a watching party.

  • Danielm80

    Antibirth is probably less “dementedly creepy” than the election.

  • bronxbee

    and don’t forget The Candidate,still a great object lesson on how power — or, at least, the *desire* for power — screws your life.

  • Nathan

    That poster is cheesy fun in it’self.

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