Saturday, 5 September 2009


Antibodies was released in 2005, and put the German filmmaker Christian Alvart firmly on the map. With the imminent release of his latest work Pandorum and a English language remake of Antibodies in the pipeline, I felt it about the right time to look back at this excellent film.

The picture focuses on full-time farmer and part-time cop Michael Martens, whose life has been engulfed with finding the murderer of viciously slain local girl Lucia Flieder. When pedophiliac serial killer Gabriel Engel is captured in an explosive opening scene, Michael should be able to rest easily when he is linked to the area at the time of the death. But he cannot let it rest until he has spoken to the murderer in person, and once Engel has wormed his way into Martens fragile psyche, his life and family begin to unravel.

The film plays within an childlike state; the picture is graded with deep yellow and green hues, giving it an out wordly juxtaposition with the darker elements of the story. The sound complements this superbly, with fantastic foley work, deep throbbing synth lines and low end rumbles. The opening scene is dynamic, as the police web accidently closes in on Engel, who is murdering his final victim. The soundtrack plays the mood just right spinning and crashing around the soundscape, with just the right amount of silence - an important tool in shocking your audience. This theme continues throughout the film, with sound designer Michael Hinreiner playing his cards expertly in terms of mood and the reflection of Martens psyche as the story twists and turns.

If I have one criticism, it is that the choice of reverb often used does not reflect the shape of the environment it is occurring in. This is particularly evident in a flashback scene where there is a rapid delay on Martens footsteps across a forest floor - somewhat similar of the ropey mix in the original Friday the 13th movie. This may have been a narrative decision, but to me it just sounded odd.

All in all Antibodies is a magnificent film (minus the animals - you'll know what I mean when you watch it!), and Alvart is a director with a huge future. I'm looking forward to Pandorum with great expectations - its released here in the UK on September 18th, so expect a review in the coming weeks. Until then, heres the trailer for you to enjoy.

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