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Shock Test

Antibirth Review

Antibirth follows a drug addict as she deals with the discovery that she is pregnant following a night of heavy partying. Convinced she didn't have sex, she battles with denial and some level of resolution while she attempts to carry on with her life. As the pregnancy advances rapidly, she is forced to confront the problem in some capacity, and hopefully find out who did this to her and why.

Antibirth delivers little outside of its shock value jokes and early hype as a debaucherous, chaotic work of art. It is perceived as a film that is going to take it too far, and it really comes off more like a guy sitting on his couch, high, talking about doing something awesome. Sure, there are moments of the grotesque, and our lead proudly displays her lack of a filter, but beyond that, you aren't getting much before the final act.

I have repeated amidst my previous reviews that drug use in film is a delicate problem to tackle. If you go too heavy or psychedelic you can lose the audience, and if you go too soft you might as well have not tried it at all. This film, somehow, is both too heavy and too soft. We are hit with regular (and I do mean regular) distorted flashbacks and acid-trippy hallucinations, sandwiched in between moments of complete boredom watching our protagonist carry on with life either from her trailer or from work, like a half-baked Juno on 'shrooms. Little is gained from the flashbacks and the hallucinations can't be trusted, so you are basically watching nothing that is pretending to be something.

The film plays heavily off of the aspects of drug addiction, unexpected pregnancy, and abortion, mostly the scenarios in which all three happen at once. In between its crude jokes and nonchalant behavior, the film is telling a solemn tale of reality for many out there. It rarely, if ever, focuses on the emotional toll of this reality, but it never intends to.

Our lead actress, Natasha Lyonne, essentially plays the same character she does in Orange is the New Black, except she is out of prison and dealing with an abnormal affliction. But quite literally, you could take that exact personality and add a Rosemary's Baby-type plot with a bunch of drugs and you've got Antibirth. To her credit, Natasha plays the role well, but from an originality standpoint you aren't getting much fresh content.

The final act definitely houses a decent twist. I didn't see it coming (maybe I should have amidst the flashbacks and hallucinations, but I didn't). The climax houses some of the intensity and gross-out humor promised from the trailer, and it is certainly hefty, but I decline to vouch enough for the film to recommend it for rental. Nearly anything is stream-worthy (it's currently on Netflix), so I won't outright say, "don't watch it"! It's not Manos by any means, but it wasn't something I enjoyed near as much as I was expecting.

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 4/10

Film Quality: 2/10

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