This month, The Stake is recommending some horror movies for your Halloween watching. We’re trying to find stuff you may not have already seen. You can find all of these on one of three major streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu).
Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is a terrifying film and it is another of my favorites. It is hard to know where to begin with it, because in its short 108 minute running time, there is a great deal that needs explanation. When the film premiered at Cannes in 2009, von Trier was aggressively pushed to justify the making of his dark, graphic, sexually violent, and boundary pushing movie. His response: “I do not feel the need to justify my making of this film. That is a strange question, that you would ask me to excuse myself. You are all my guests, not the other way around …I have made this little film that I am now rather fond of. I did not make it for you.”
Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are a couple who have just lost their toddler son to a tragic death. They retreat to their cabin in the woods, called Eden, and what unfolds is a nightmare of grief, depression, anxiety, and horrific violence unlike anything I have ever seen. If this were a creature film, the creature would be the constantly looming depression.
Antichrist is, essentially, like watching the very worst of anxiety attacks unfold over 108 minutes. It is based on actual anxiety-fueled nightmares von Trier experienced. He would wake up, following his nightmares, and write down in great detail every part that he could remember. von Trier finds a way to suck us in to the movie so that, at times, we may feel like we are experiencing our own anxiety attack and/or nightmare. I do not recommend viewing this film before bed.
A version of this story previously ran at The Stake on March 31, 2016. You can read the whole review here.