Antibirth Danny Perez

Antibirth Danny Perez
Photo by Marni Grossman / Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Writer-director Danny Perez has a large number of credits under his belt, having completed wild and tripped-out music videos for the likes of Black Dice, IUD and Animal Collective (for whom he also made ODDSAC). With the help of hip veterans Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny, he now adds a cult-classic feature film to his impressive résumé.

Antibirth is a bloody, gooey horror comedy that's part Troma and part pregnancy trauma. When the bong-blasting, booze-hounding Lu (Lyonne) goes on a particularly hazy bender, she awakens to discover a weird rumble in her guts. Within days, her stomach has ballooned out and is displaying some weird, freaky veins. It's as though she was knocked up by something from another world.

At a Sundance Q&A, Perez explained that he wrote Antibirth with Lyonne in mind. It was a wise decision as her iconic and raspy voice lends itself perfectly to the sort of slacker anti-hero that comes straight from the '90s — when she's not guzzling brews and puffing up, she's munching on donuts and microwaving corndogs. Her home, too, is a relic of the past as she squats in a shack adorned with Black Dice and Suicide posters, along with a bright, neon-lit decor that vaguely resembles an apocalyptic Pee-wee's Playhouse.

It's important to distinguish that "cult classic" doesn't necessarily mean "flawless" — by its middle section, Antibirth starts to feel a little convoluted as more characters are introduced. But it's all worth it for the finale's slimy, B-movie body horror. Besides, even in the film's slowest moments, Lyonne commands attention as she cusses up a storm and over-indulges.

For all of its psychedelic asides and general sci-fi weirdness, Antibirth is not nearly as out-there as one might expect from perusing Perez's videography. Instead, it's something much better — a timeless midnight movie that'll find new audiences for decades to come.