Antibirth (Blu-ray Review)

AntibirthRegular, natural pregnancy is scary and a challenge enough for a couple, let alone adding a supernatural element to it.  But with Antibirth, they not only give it that slap dash of gross out and weird horror, its done with a bit of a comedic touch too.  Making its Blu-ray and DVD debut  February 7th, 2017 from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight, Anitbirth also includes psychedelic clips, storyboards and theatrical trailer as bonus features.  Spiked with blasts of hallucinatory color, surreal shocks, and subversive comedy, the audacious feature debut from Danny Perez is a no-holds-barred descent into delirium.

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Hard-drinking, pill-popping, bong-ripping Lou and her best friend Sadie spend their days adrift in a druggy haze. But one wild night out becomes a bad trip that never ends when Lou wakes up with symptoms of an unexplained, highly abnormal pregnancy. As Lou’s due date approaches with alarming swiftness, the fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories begin to pile up.

I’m not sure what Antibirth would be without its cast.  There’s a good hook and playfulness to start, giving a nice mysterious preface to it all.  But, once that mystery begins to unfold, the narrative starts to get a little dumb and fall apart.  Though, I think some good visuals and the cast manage to hold the thing together just enough that some will have takeaways from it (me) and it may have others onboard enough to champion it after finishing it out.

Natasha Lyonne crushes it in this movie.  If anything, she’s almost worth the price of admission to see her antics.  Maybe pulling from experience, but she truly brings this character on a bender, constantly wasted, to life with such ease.  Its pretty humorous and engaging to watch at times.  Chloe Sevigny is also pretty good to counterbalance that craziness.  The chemistry the two have here is what carries the film for its 94 minute runtime.  My biggest takeaway from the film might be that I’d like another buddy comedy with the two of them.  Meg Tilly, whom I haven’t seen in forever, also stops by for a solid, interesting role.

Danny Perez makes his directorial debut, and maybe next time he can pair up with a stronger script.  However, as mentioned, he does get quite a good performance out of his cast.  He also does a good job with psychedelic, drugged up, Lynchian and WTF kind of visuals.  That’s some of the best part of the film.  Maybe if I was high, it could have been a little more effective on me (I mean that as a compliment).  Perez also can balance both sheer lunacy and intensity well as demonstrated in this film’s third act.  He’ll be interesting to see what he can do in other films if given the opportunity in the future.

Antibirth is a strange, weird foray into a sort of pregnancy horror.  It can also be pretty funny and a lot of that has to do with the engaging quality of its two leads (Lyonee and Sevigny), more than the film itself.  As it continued on, despite some the sheer madness and gory ridiculousness of it, I found myself less and less invested as the second act was coming to an end and the third was running its course.  This one truly isn’t for the weak stomached and surely not one for someone going through a pregnancy of their own either, haha.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Shot on digital, this one transfers over to Blu-ray looking crisp, sharp and clean with plenty of detail.  Gory, bloody childbirth with veiny pregnancy belly are gross and grisly too look at thanks to this picture.  Clothing, like Sevigny’s jacket and such carry a texture and pattern easily discernible in this image.  All in all, its just as good as any of the better IFC Midnight title from Scream Factory.

Depth:  Solid depth work here. Environments feels deep and multi-dimensional with smooth, natural character movements occurring within.

Black Levels:  Blacks carry a deep, shadowing look to them.  Not much in the way of detail is hidden, though much of this movie takes place in dark areas.  No crushing witnessed on this viewing.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty full, natural looking and vibrant when need be, highlighted by big pink and yellows.  Tonally, most of the color in the film give a lifelike quality and feel to it all in the shapes of browns and like.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and keep a consistent look throughout the runtime.  Facial details, like veins, freckles, wrinkles, dried blood and more come through with good clarity and discernibility.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics: Antibirth has a really well mixed and performed 5.1 track.  There is a lot of talking in the movie, but the natural element and environmental work done to bring it to life is a real treat.  Whether it be some club or seedy area party, this track knows how to get it done and make you feel right there.  The gross stuff at the end is a goopy and messy as well here.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  A lot of the deep sounds in this one come from the score and musical stings on top of that.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Surprisingly we have a well realized 5.1 track that has a lot of fun with the rear channels.  Many moments here have a unique sound or place in the mix for a rear channel or both to play on to.  Motion and action transference from one speaker to the next is well done, too.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp, loud and pulls on every word or sound in dictation cleanly.

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Antibirth is a 2-Disc set that comes with the DVD edition of the film as well as reversible cover art showcasing an alternate poster design.

Promotional Marketing Shorts (HD, 3:05) 

Storyboards (HD, 10:00) 

Trailer (HD, 2:03)

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Antibirth is a neat, more originally foray into indie horror that I’ve seen from the IFC Midnight line of films.  Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, I truly did enjoy the chemistry and performances of the two leads.  This Blu-ray came with a very good presentation in the audio and video department.  The extras are pretty much nothing.  I also experienced some odd menu functionality issues on my Samsung 4K UHD player during playback for this review.  It wasn’t anything I wasn’t able to work around or anything, but should be noted.  Anyway, rent it before buying for sure.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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