Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Rundown of the 13 Best Horror Movies I’ve Seen in the Past Year

[9 of 13]

(May 2009)

Like Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist has gone down in the annals of cinematic infamy as one of those Cannes films: the ones that detonate like atomic bombs, that repulse and enrage and provoke.
In Antichrist, tragedy befalls Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg (who took home the Best Actress prize from Cannes for her troubles), and the couple subsequently retreat to a cabin in the wilderness where things go spectacularly awry.
Von Trier has gone on the record as saying Antichrist was very much therapy, a creative act meant to help his rehabilitation in the wake of a mental breakdown. The result is indeed something potent and difficult. On certain levels, it plays like one of those tests of cinematic endurance the French have bombarded us with in recent years. There is none of the quirky humour evident in von Trier’s previous excursion into horror territory, Riget; here, there is only bleak, arty, and rather carnal nihilism.
Antichrist is a film where sex happens at the indiscriminate drop of some trou, and where the act is either an evasion of psychological pain, or a foretaste of unsettling brutality.
Very. Unsettling.

Does Antichrist deserve its Cannes infamy? It does.
There are, however, other films that are harder to sit through, films like Martyrs or Irreversible, for that matter.
But that’s all really relative in the end.
Antichrist savages and assaults, housing disturbing horror film elements within the cinematic framework of the art film.
Like a wild fox ready to sink its teeth into hot, fleshy meat, it is not to be approached casually.

(Antichrist Australian OS courtesy of

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