Back in February when the site was just starting to get on its feet, we were offered the chance to review Dakota Bailey’s RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN SCUMBAG. That was an early highlight and helped convince me I was on the right track. Now, under the name Dakota Ray, he’s back with AMERICAN ANTICHRIST. It’s a collection of linked vignettes shot between April and September of 2018 that mix surreal collections of imagery with narrative segments. The result is as nightmarish as you might expect.
The entire film clocks in at a fast 50 minutes which doesn’t let things drag. The framing device involves a serial killer (Dakota Ray) resurrected from the dead as a vessel for the Antichrist. In between bursts of bizarre and at times disturbing footage we get two stories.
Revelations: The Sickness of Immorality deals with a drug dealer (Nick Benning THE ACID SORCERER) a desperate addict (Meg Lacie Brown) and a snuff filmmaker (Damien Rimmon). It plays out about as you might expect. But it’s nicely shot and Meg looks damn fine out of her clothes.
The Beauty of Sin involves a religious fanatic (Larry Bay AMERICAN SCUMBAGS) who has some habits Jesus wouldn’t approve of. The segment follows him as he takes an old Testament approach to what he considers sinners. While in some ways superficial, (we have no idea why he does what he does), it’s close to real incidents and quite effective.
The footage in between may be a bit iffy for some people. It ranges from some primitive but effective effects-driven sequences. These frequently feel like hallucinations or fever dreams in their look and composition. There’s also a fair amount of more cliché images such as insects, roadkill, etc. Viewers who need everything to be in a straightforward, narrative-driven style will have trouble with this.
While never scary in the conventional sense, AMERICAN ANTICHRIST is disturbing and at times thought-provoking. Its bizarre images, backed by the music of the band Fallow, is haunting and sticks in the mind.