Natasha Lyonne’s Character Just Wants to Get High and Forget the Body Horror of ‘Antibirth’


If the idea of afterbirth makes you squirm, you’d probably do best to avoid Antibirth. Body horror of the unexplained-pregnancy variety, writer-director Danny Perez’s low-fidelity, high-anxiety gross-out stars Natasha Lyonne as a woman whose conception is anything but immaculate.

Lou (Lyonne) and her bestie, Sadie (Chloë Sevigny), spend the easygoing first act driving around snow-covered Michigan in a red Saturn (R.I.P.), taking bong rips in her out-of-the-way trailer, and watching late-night TV that resembles a Max Headroom fever dream — all signs, in their own way, that something is amiss.

After blacking out during a hallucinatory party, Lou begins experiencing telltale symptoms of being with child, which might make sense if she had gotten laid in the past few months. Lyonne settles into the same casually vulgar mode she inhabits to great effect on Orange Is the New Black, with Sevigny receding into the background as our devil-may-care heroine begins to realize she may be the pawn in a conspiracy involving two-bit drug dealers and government agencies.

The further Antibirth drifts from her crude magnetism and toward a Cronenberg-lite vision of Lou’s rapid, worryingly transformative pregnancy, the less compelling it becomes. Lyonne, to her credit, seems wholly aware of this, with Lou shutting down one conspiratorial discussion by yelling, “I don’t like talking about aliens when I’m getting high — just don’t do it!” If only the film she’s in would listen.


Directed by Danny Perez

IFC Midnight

Opens September 2, IFC Center