Antibodies (2005)

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Director: Christian Alvart

Stars: Norman Reedus, Christian Von Aster, Andre Hennicke

Silence of the deer

You might think that Antibodies is very similar to Silence of the Lambs. I’ve even heard one person describing it as a rip-off of it, but I don’t see that in Antibodies. The only similarities is that the serial-killer (here a revolting paedophile, instead of a harmless cannibal) and the detective feature key scenes across bars. That’s it! Antibodies is more about solving the case of a murdered little girl who the serial killer refuses to admit to killing. Whereas the Silence of the Lambs was more about Jodie Foster on the tail of a whole new serial killer altogether! That being said, of course Antibodies is not as great as the Silence of the Lambs, but it is a super solid serial killer thriller that offers so much more than you’d imagine.

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Antibodies is dangerously under-rated. It seems to me that hardly anyone has seen it and I can’t understand why. I came across it on IMDb by accident and the poster caught my eye with its sinister focal image and clinical background. There’s no reason why Antibodies should not appeal to mass audiences, other than it being in German which lazy people (who have probably not even given subtitled films a chance!) send away. Antibodies looks amazing, it’s made on a very decent budget, has fantastic acting and a wonderfully twisty script. At two hours long Antibodies never sags and I was even kind of sad to see it end because it’s such a gripping experience.

Antibodies grabs you by the throat from the stylish opening where the mad man’s apartment is stormed by police officers. Here we’re bombarded with religious imagery which can often seem a bit pompous, but in Antibodies it serves a very intelligent purpose and only adds to the brilliant screenplay. We’re given striking imagery of a naked psychopath and it could’ve easily leaped out of a Hollywood film with its big-budget feel. However unlike most Hollywood productions it features an edgy screenplay as well as great visuals. It’s no surprise that Hollywood is eating this up! What the screenplay does so well is getting into the minds of its characters. Our detective is no less interesting than the psychopath himself (well maybe slightly, but psychopaths have an unfair advantage of being interesting). We’re let into the detective’s everyday life and we see his strengths and flaws as a characters. No doubt the remake will feature a pure detective, which will completely miss the whole idea of the film. I loved seeing his character change from being cool and collected and then being completely tormented by Gabriel (the psychopath, who is definitely no angel).

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Just like in the Silence of the Lambs, the interrogation scenes feature astonishingly gripping dialogue as we become as entangled in the mystery as much as the detective is. There are also some very interesting uses of camera angles. In fact, the whole film moves at a great pace and has a speedy energy which you wouldn’t expect from a film that lasts two hours. Antibodies never drags and you always care. The film is never afraid to be cruel and brutal in its characterisation and it’s right not to hold back. It’s important to note that people like Gabriel do exist and we can’t just shut the out!

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There are a few jaw-dropping twists at the end which only show off the brilliant nature of the screenplay. There are some very intense sequences that had me on the edge of my seat. The character of the detective is also never ignored and he rightly remains central to the story as we see him being led into temptation amongst other things. Antibodies is a thrilling experience and a high-class serial killer thriller. It certainly has the dark elements of horror like the Silence of the Lambs has, yet it adds a brilliant spin on the sub-genre that should have you on the edge of your seat. This is top-notch entertainment with a heart at the centre of it. See it before Hollywood squashes it!

nine-out-of-ten

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