On Danny Perez’ Antibirth (2016)

by Kayann Mitchell

Premiering at Sundance Antibirth is the latest in body horror, a sub-genre that usually takes a strong stomach to behold, which is all I knew about this little indie going in. So needless to say I had a bucket on standby just in case. But would I need it?

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When first we meet Lou (Natasha Lyonne), in a small nowhere Michigan town, she and pal Sadie (Chloë Sevigny) are partying hard in a sketchy warehouse drinking and drugging with a bunch of friends into the wee hours of the morning. The next day however Lou isn’t feeling too hot. Thinking it may be a bug she visits Vet friend Ahna (Lili Francks) to try and suss out what ails her. However, when Ahna hears her symptoms she suggests Lou is pregnant. A diagnosis Lou laughs off as she carries on with her hard living ways.

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But as the days drag on Lou’s symptoms are getting worse and decidedly more grotesque. As she struggles to remember exactly what happened the night of the party. Paralyzed by bizarre visions and an ever worsening list of ailments, she is at a loss as to the answers to the questions that are mounting. Lou finds an ally in town, newcomer Lorna (Meg Tilly) as the two try desperately to help Lou before things come to a head.

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And that’s all I’ll say about that. Mostly because I don’t really want to go on about it. To say I’m not a fan would be an understatement. While there are elements of fun here the story seems muddled and parts feel either improvised or tacked on. It could have been a smartly written take on childbirth but it settles for the low hanging fruit with an end sight gag I found genuinely offensive. But don’t let me talk you out of it if you’re dead set on seeing it. But never say you weren’t warned.

 

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