May McNeal’s review published on Letterboxd:
I want to like movies like this. I want to encourage you to watch movies like this. I want more movies like this to exist.
But not like this at all.
After finishing Antibirth, I had a moment of self realization that I personally have grown past storytelling like this. Where the visuals (no matter how appealing they are) are incredibly dysfunctional. The sound choices really don't lend to the scenes. The editing is a fucking mess of what pretends to be experimental but feels a lot more like a reedit to save something not working about the narrative. I have personally grown past this sorta "fuck you audience" storytelling.
I understand the inclination to challenge people, and I do think the film sits comfortably on the challenging scale. This movie is not for everyone, unapologetically so. But it starts to dip into this place where it's not really for ANYONE. This isn't me saying you should pander some of your vision to your audience, but this is the nature of how we communicate with an audience. We don't do it by vomiting on the floor and having them clean up your mess.
That's the big difference in these Pseudo Lynchian films and actually Lynchian films. Lynch makes challenging films, but he gives a shit about what his audience is thinking and feeling at any given point. His films are economic. The story is always advancing toward a goal that is naturally attainable and surprising. And it gets there fast. I mean, he takes his time, but there's so much crammed into every second of his movies.
Then you see something like Antibirth that really loves the form David Lynch chooses to tell his stories, but doesn't give a shit about how the audience feels. It becomes this movie that is almost perfect for being high and laying on the couch and proclaiming 'whoa.' But it doesn't even reach those heights because it is fucking boring.
This is what I mean when I say the movie doesn't function on the audience. So halfway through the movie we learn IT'S ALIENS. I tell you this here without any sort of spoiler warning because that is how the movie presents this information. It just sorta comes up in conversation and we go "...oh, it's aliens." So then when we get to the ultimate climax of the movie (which feels like a total joke on the whole stupid thing to begin with) we are given that information again for about the 30th time. This is not economic storytelling, it deflates all suspense, the audience knows where it's going and when it finally gets around to showing us something crazy, it does it quickly, in a dumb way, that has no affectation whatsoever.
Then everything spirals down into nothingness, the bubble pops, credits roll, you turn off Netflix and go to bed having wasted your night on a film that feels like a self-indulgent 15 year old wanted to make something he thought was "cool." And there's some great things on display, do not get me wrong. The lighting and cinematography is mostly contributing, the performers are all really natural and strong. The problem is such a simple thing.
Regardless of what the filmmakers may think, it wasn't cool.