The Film (2.5/5)
Lou (Natasha Lyonne) is a thirty-something woman who spends her days doing odd-jobs like cleaning motel rooms to keep the lights on at the trailer she inherited from her deceased Father, and to keep her drug, booze, and candy habit going. As the film begins she is a party with her friend Sadie (Chloe Sevigny - Kids, Broken Flowers) at which she blacks out. The story picks up with her at a friends house, who happens to be a vet. She finds herself feeling quite out of it, and the friend asks her about the symptoms her is feeling. These symptoms makes her friend conclude that she is pregnant, being quite thick she refuses to accept that conclusion and continues to live her drug-fueled white trash lifestyle all the while getting larger, and more obviously with child. As this occurs she becomes more determined to find out what happened that night at the party, now with the help of Lorna (sadly not the Exorcist, played by Meg Tilly). The pair begin to discover that what occurred was not exactly an immaculate conception, but what happened was not exactly conceived by normal means either.
Antibirth is the debut feature film by Danny Perez, and he has a vision that seems to equal parts David Cronenberg and Larry Cohen, with one part Larry Clark, if the Kids from Kids survived their childhood, and just kept going. The film is largely a problematic affair that is grounded by the fact that it managed to cast a series of great actors in its one dimensional lead roles. Lou played by Natasha Lyonne is a terrible character who in almost every moment you see her is either hitting a bottle or bong, even when she suspects or knows she is pregnant, and this is the gist of her character. A drug addict with an unintended pregnancy. Fortunately, Lyonne delivers a quality performance that helps to offer what depth their is to the character. The one decent character in the piece is Lorna played by Meg Tilly, and in the end she is undermined by a last minute plot twist (at least I think it was a plot twist).
Most people who attempt to make low budget horror understand there are limitations in what one can show on screen so they show a little bit at the beginning and a little at the end, with some filler throughout the film. As fans of cult and exploitation cinema this is something we come to expect. However, the pacing of the film is off, and Perez as a writer seems to think that the conspiratorial nature of the piece and the characters are enough to keep things interesting, and unfortunately the attempts at John Waters-esque trashy humor and the occasional bit of grossness doesn't help to this one at all. I do think that Perez has some interesting visual ideas here, and hopefully his second feature will build upon the positives of his first.
Antibirth is a new feature shot on a digital HD format, and so everything looks largely good here. The film is presented in a 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the films OAR. Colors are natural and well represented, blacks are inky and deep, and I did not notice any crush, and detail is excellent though out.
Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English. The track is quite serviceable with dialogue and score coming through nicely.
Scream Factory provides 10 minutes of storyboards, some promotional shorts, and the film's trailer.
An interesting, but flawed film made watchable by a trio of solid lead performances Antibirth is effective a horror/sci-fi hybrid that blends the worlds of David Cronenberg and Larry Clark. If you find that appeals to you check it out. This one, however, is NOT RECOMMENDED.