Hard-drinking, pill-popping, bong-ripping Lou (Natasha Lyonne, Orange In The New Black) and her best friend Sadie (Chloë Sevigny, #Horror, Love & Friendship) spend their days adrift in a druggy haze. But one wild night out becomes a bad trip that never ends when Lou wakes up with symptoms of an unexplained, highly abnormal pregnancy. Who—or what—is growing inside her? As her due date approaches with alarming swiftness, the fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories begin to pile up. Spiked with blasts of hallucinatory color, surreal shocks, and subversive comedy, the audacious feature debut from Danny Perez is a no-holds-barred descent into delirium. This "Weird, messy and oddly fascinating" (Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal International) film also stars Meg Tilly (Psycho II) and Mark Webber (Green Room).
Conspiracy theories, the military, weird pregnancies, and drug fueled hallucinations are the key ingredients to 'Antibirth', which is the first feature film from Danny Perez. The film has an excellent setup, but as the story goes on, the payoff and execution rides the line of over-the-top and meanders off its own path. It's as if there was a good short story here for about twenty minutes, but cinematic filler was added in for the sole purpose of making this a feature film. This is unfortunate, because there is an excellent cast here, including Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Meg Tilly, and Mark Webber.
The script just isn't all there for these actors to fully dive deep into their characters. If the plot-lines of the pregnancy, conspiracy theories, or any of the character's actions in the film can't hold your attention, the gory and bloody practical effects will certainly keep you on edge, which made the film better than it should've been. Lyonne plays a woman named Lou, who spends her days and evenings enjoying a multitude of drugs and watching television in her trailer home with her friend Sadie (Sevigny). After waking up after a rager, Lou believes she is pregnant, with something in her stomach growing fast.
As the plot thickens, certain people in Lou's life might have something to do with her current situation of growing something inside of her. Perez takes us on an acid trip inside of Lou's mind that might show her the future with the help of a strange woman she met by the name of Lorna (Tilly). Again, this horror.comedy film of sorts can be seen a few different ways. In one way, you can draw similarities of what women go through when becoming pregnant and all the chaos it causes inside and out. In another way, you can follow this story as a conspiracy film in the vein of 'They Live' or 'The Mist'. The third way is just a straight gory film with tons of blood and guts - literally.
Either way you go about, you'll sure get a laugh or two. Lyonne, Sevigny, and Tilly are just excellent in their roles here, as they give it their all with the sub-par material that is provided. It's a delight to see them on screen. Perez's camera work is all over the place with some long slow shots that can transition into severe quick cuts in an instant. It's an interesting take for sure on this small pregnancy horror genre that is growing each year. 'Antibirth' is a fun film despite it's many flaws.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Antibirth' comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc and a DVD Copy from Scream Factory and are Region A Locked. There is no digital download insert here. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with no cardboard sleeve. The box art is reversible. Trailers from other films play before the main menu.
'Antibirth' comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Detail is sharp and vivid throughout with excellent closeups that reveal individual hairs and gory makeup effects. Stitching in the wool blankets also look great too. Wider shots rarely go soft, however things look a little muddled in the darker lit scenes from time to time.
Colors are mostly vibrant and pop off screen, especially during the hallucinations with bright neon colors. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural. There were no other compression issues to deal with, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
This release comes with both a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo option. Both are great. The 5.1 mix adds a bit more immersion to the soundscape. Sound effects are loud and full at all times and provide the gooey noises that ooze from Lou's body. Ambient noises of people bowling and chattering can be heard in the rear speakers too.
The music of the film sounds great and adds to every acid trip and fun moment throughout. The dialogue is clear and mostly easy to follow. Some of the characters speak fast and mumble their lines, so the English subtitles might be of some help. There were no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills here, leaving this audio presentation with good marks.
Psychedelic Shorts (HD, 3 Mins.) - Some infomercials seen in the film are her in full form.
Storyboards (HD, 10 Mins.) - Images of the storyboards from the film appear on screen here.
Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'Antibirth' can be your horror pregnancy film, a conspiracy theory film, or just a plain old fashioned gory movie with some funny moments. The film goes off the rails at times and rarely does it take itself seriously. It feels a bit long due to the slow buildup for the script as well, but there are still some entertaining scenes to be had here. The cast is excellent here too. I just wish there was a better screenplay. The video and audio presentation are both solid, but the extras aren't really worth your time. Give it a Rent.