AMERICAN ANTICHRIST * USA 2018 Dir: Dakota Ray. 50 mins

Denver-based filmmaker Dakota Ray’s career to date includes the cheerfully titled THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN SCUMBAG and I SPREAD HATE LIKE HERPES. Most movie titles could be improved by the addition of the word “Herpes” – SCHINDLER’S HERPES and JURASSIC HERPES, for example, would have arguably made even more money with a discreet change of name. This self-conscious nihilism-by-numbers offering is further punctuated with pretentious / portentous subtitles like “I Am God- My Drug Induced Ego Trip” and “Revelations: The Sickness of Immorality”.
Ray himself plays a serial killer who died from a drug overdose and returns to Earth, overwhelmed with visions of Hell. Meanwhile, drug addict Meg Lacie Brown, desperate and enduring a recovery programme, gets embroiled with a snuff film ring, and religious degenerate Larry Bay embarks on a God-guided mission to eradicate “sinners”, filming unconvincing immolations of homeless people on his phone. Flat dialogue delivery and laughable voiceover narration weigh down this indulgent wallow, which has nothing of substance to say beyond the predictable imagery of roadkill, insects, goats, suicide and missing child posters. It yearns to shock but the biggest reaction provoked is laughter at its ridiculous, cackling snuff filmmaker and a skull-faced hoodie-wearing sidekick wielding a power drill. The dialogue doesn’t get any more compelling than “I’d rather fucking die than go to Heaven”. The only asset is a beguiling soundscape courtesy of doom metal band Fallow.

Review by Steven West

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