After the accidental death of their young son, a therapist takes his wife to their secluded cabin in the woods in a misguided attempt to help her deal with her grief. He wants her to face her fears in order to overcome them, unaware that her fears may very well be justified. A malevolent force seems present in the woods ("chaos reigns") and his treatment may be further pushing his wife towards the edge.
I've long wished that that more established, talented directors would take a stab a horror movies once in a while, even joking a while back that they should have hired Werner Herzog to direct the Halloween remake. Lars Von Trier has proved me right with Antichrist, the best and most genuinely horrifying horror film of the year, and although I'd have to see it again, likely one of the best of the decade.
Von Trier has a reputation for being something of a provocateur, so I'm a little surprised he hasn't gotten to this genre sooner. His main asset here is his uninhibited willingness to go epic, to chase after monumental and powerful images of terror, without regards for moderation. The film does brush up against camp on a few occasions (prompting a few uncomfortable laughs in the audience), but the power of the best images outweighs these moments, and in a weird way these moments fit the film's go-for-broke style.
Although Antichrist is anything but your typical horror film, ignoring usual plot conventions and delving much deeper into the realm of psychological horror than most films, Von Trier shows a mastery of horror imagery and atmosphere. The bulk of the film is a masterpiece of mood and tone, unsettling even when nothing seems to be going on, and the lead actors are both entrancing. The finale is as disturbing and intense as I've seen in the genre in a good long while. Antichrist is the real deal, the rare horror film that gets under your skin and into your mind, and sticks with you long after its ended.