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A ridiculously bad film that hasn’t split opinion so much as divided people with eyes from the willful contrarians, Lars von Trier’s violent psychodrama wants you to become its next sucker. A couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) grapples with the accidental death of their child by retreating to the woods for some ill-advised self-therapy. The healing involves high-school-mature power games and genital mutilation. “Chaos reigns,” murmurs an animatronic fox in one of the movie’s unwittingly hilarious moments, yet that couldn’t be further from the truth: Antichrist is a rigid, schematic horror film, informed by half-smart notions of female vengeance and inept suspense sequences. Even on its own genre terms, the movie has been bested by recent releases like Jennifer’s Body. Swooningly pretentious, it comes out theatrically in less than a month; save your money. Friday, Oct 2 at 9pm—Joshua Rothkopf

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New York Film Festival 2009

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