The film includes multiple aggressive sexual sequences: a man having his genitals crushed by a hefty block of wood, and a woman slicing off her clitoris with a pair of rusty scissors.
Despite what these scenes may lead you to believe, Antichrist is far from being as horrendous as any Saw or Hostel film. Shots depicting bloody carnage don’t linger for very long and they are are few and far between.
The story concerns a couple grieving after the death of their son. The two retreat to their cabin in the woods to patch up their relationship, where the woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) descends into madness and begins to torture her husband (Willem Dafoe).
While it's sold on scandal, Antichrist's incendiary scenes only occur in the stirring introductory and final scenes. This leaves the audience with an hour of tedious psychobabble to connect the bits.
Antichrist isn’t entirely without merit. The introduction and epilogue, filmed in monochrome and set to Handel, display Anthony Don Mantle’s excellent cinematography, while the actors' talents occasionally make von Trier’s drab dialogue crackle.
Most audiences will see Antichrist for its controversy and not for its intermittent artistic merits. With that expectation in mind, Antichrist is not worth the time.
Antichrist opens in Toronto on November 13.