How far would you go to protect someone you love? How far would you go to protect them from themselves? These are questions posed by the superlative German thriller, Antibodies.
Michael Martens (Wotan Wilke Möhring), a part-time police officer in a rural village, is still reeling from his discovery of Lucia Flieder, a young local girl murdered some months back. Certain that there is a killer among them, Michael has alienated himself from the small community and, much to the chagrin of his father-in-law, has even distanced himself from his own family, especially his thirteen year old son, Christian. When detectives capture Gabriel Engel (André Hennicke), a serial killer responsible for the deaths of several young boys around the country – as well as the chief suspect in Lucia’s murder - Michael travels to the city in hopes of putting this case behind him, but, instead, finds himself more certain than ever that the killer he is looking for is back home, living under his own roof.
While Antibodies borrows heavily from everything from “The Silence of the Lambs” to “Se7en” (as well as the classic German film that started it all, “M”), director Christian Alvart expertly weaves all of these elements into a crackling thriller that keeps the viewer thoroughly engaged, constantly guessing, and ultimately disturbed. Watching the pious and dedicated “farmer” cop’s slow and steady decline into despair and darkness is grueling stuff, especially toward the film’s unnerving and surreal conclusion, but Alvart and his crew make it all the more palatable with gorgeous cinematography and wonderful use of light and shadow (which brings me back to “M”). This is a filmmaker I expect big things from in the future.
Dark Sky Films presents Antibodies in a loaded, two-disc special edition that sports a feature-length making-of documentary, deleted scenes/outtakes, and much more. It’s a great presentation for a film that probably would have slipped under the radar of other studios, so Dark Sky should be applauded for bringing Antibodies to our shores in such a well put together package.
If you’re even remotely a fan of the serial killer genre, Antibodies is amongst its best examples. While some parts of the film aren’t exactly original (the meetings between Engle and Michael were a bit too close to the Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling exchanges in The Silence of the Lambs, although, to be fair, Alvart does address this when he has Engel ask Michael if he expected to see Lecter when he first arrives), the borrowed elements are expounded upon in new and exciting ways, making Antibodies, as a whole, a refreshing and exciting new entry into an otherwise tired genre. Highly recommended!