There’s official confirmation that Lars von Trier’s (ANTICHRIST) disaster film MELANCHOLIA does indeed have a sci-fi angle — if there was any lingering doubt.
The Hollywood Reporter’s news from Cannes mentions that John Hurt (ALIEN) has joined a cast that includes 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst (SPIDERMAN), Charlotte Rampling (ZARDOZ), gennre regular Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgard (EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING), his son Alexander Skarsgard (TRUE BLOOD) and Charlotte Gainsbourg (ANTICHRIST).
Executive Producer Peter A. Jensen revealed that the end of the world film does feature a “large object from outer space approaching Earth”.
If this is an asteroid or other natural body (such as the previously reported rogue planet) that imperiles the world, it’s been done many times before, from WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951) to ARMAGEDDON (1998), and any number of TV movies.
However, I suspect Lars von Trier can probably be counted on to provide his own unique spin on an old tale.
Lars Von Trier’s 2009 film ANTICHRIST is quite a work of art but after hearing so much about the film; I am surprised to say it isn’t at all what I’d expected. In fact I’m not sure this is a horror film at all – more a drama with some horror elements. Certainly a great piece of eye-candy, ANTICHRIST is entertaining, whilst being rather slow, and somewhat confusing.
The film opens with a stunningly beautiful and perfectly directed scene of our unnamed couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) making love. The passion is captured in graphic, slow motion, black and white, and in spite of the odd close-up shot of real sex (which is over very quickly) this is very tastefully done. Unfortunately for our couple, whilst they have their moment of ecstasy, their young son is climbing on the window ledge and falling several stories to the ground below.
Following the death of their son, the woman feels like she’s losing her mind and her husband, a psychotherapist, in spite of his own reservations, decides to treat her himself, whilst hiding his own grief he struggles to help her deal with hers. He takes her to a cabin in the wood to face her fears, and it is here that things go from bad to worse. Nature itself seems to be against them; even the acorns which fall constantly from the trees seem to have malevolence about them. The woman’s grief spirals out of control and only violent sex seems to pacify her. Her husband tries to talk her down, but spends a lot of time thrashing around naked with her.
It eventually becomes apparent that there is a reason for her behaviour, but I wasn’t convinced by this. Because of the title alone I had anticipated a bit of devilish involvement and all hell breaking loose, and though there are strange visitations by a deer, a crow and a very absurd fox, the devil doesn’t seem to be involved – whatever is happening to this couple isn’t powerful enough for the finger of suspicion to point at ol’ Beelzebub.
Eventually the wife completely loses it, and in a scene reminiscent of Stephen King’s Misery we are witness to a very bad case of spousal abuse!
The story is told in four chapters, as well as a prologue and an epilogue and the beautiful colours change from blues, through greens and browns, and it is this stylish and striking look of Antichrist which makes it special. Yes, the very real sex scenes are a talking point, and yes, the horrific violence is also worth a mention; however, both of these things are over very quickly, and it’s the beauty of the film that will remain etched on your brain after everything else has paled.
The two actors held my attention very well. One reason may have been their unusual looks – we all know Dafoe is a funny-looking man, but oddly, when Gainsbourg contorts her face in sorrow and anguish, she looks very similar to Dafoe! Strange looking or not, both actors were equally convincingly as they embraced each scene unflinchingly. Without them, ANTICHRIST might have been too strange to enjoy, but with them it is quite a compelling watch.
ANTICHRIST (2009). Director-Writer: Lars Von Trier. Cast: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Hollywood Reporter’s Peter Brunette saw Lars Von Triers’ art house horror film ANTICHRIST at Cannes, but he didn’t much like what he saw.
With his latest offering, “Antichrist,” Danish bad-boy director Lars von Trier is in no danger of jeopardizing his reign as the most controversial major director working today. Visually gorgeous to a fault and teeming with grandiose if often fascinating ideas that overwhelm the modest story that serves as their vehicle, this may be the least artistically successful film von Trier has ever made. As such, commercial prospects appear slim, though many of the auteur’s most ardent fans will want to see the film anyway. And they should.
ANTICHRIST stars William Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a married couple who move to an isolated cabin in the woods to recover from grief after the death of their son. Mostly known for his art house features, director Lars Von Triers previously dipped into the horror genre for his 1990s television series KINGDOM, which inspired Stephen King’s short-lived THE KINGDOM.
UPDATE: Variety’s Todd McCarthy weighs in with a similar opinion:
Lars von Trier cuts a big fat art-film fart with “Antichrist.” As if deliberately courting critical abuse, the Danish bad boy densely packs this theological-psychological horror opus with grotesque, self-consciously provocative images that might have impressed even Hieronymus Bosch, as the director pursues personal demons of sexual, religious and esoteric bodily harm, as well as feelings about women that must be a comfort to those closest to him. Traveling deep into NC-17 territory, this may prove a great date movie for pain-is-pleasure couples. Otherwise, most of the director’s usual fans will find this outing risible, off-putting or both — derisive hoots were much in evidence during and after the Cannes press screening — while the artiness quotient is far too high for mainstream-gore groupies.
An OMEN Blu-ray box set is scheduled for September 9. According to Esplatter.com, this represents the “first horror movie box set on Blu-ray.” The four-disc set will include the 1976 verison of THE OMEN, DAMEIN: THE OMEN II, THE FINAL CONFLICT, and the 2006 remake of THE OMEN. Not included is the 1990 TV movie THE OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING, which is available as part of the six-disc “Complete Omen Collection” DVD set. The first three films will be authored in BD-J with AVC (MPEG 4) compression on dual-layer 50GB discs presented in widescreen (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 DTS HD Lossless Audio plus English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin & Cantonese subtitles The 2006 OMEN will be authored in MPEG2 compression on a single-layer 25GB disc presented in widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 DTS HD Lossless Audio and Spanish/French 5.1 Dolby Surround with English/Spanish subtitles only.
Many of the Blu-ray bonus features will be ported over from the DVD, but there will be some new Blu-ra exclusives, too. Check out these bonus features below the fold. Continue reading “DVD News: Omen Blu-ray box set on the way”