A DARK AND BLOODY NIGHT FOR 'ANTIBODIES' CHARACTERS.
Hannibal Lecter, you hungry old so-and-so! Oh, the havoc you continue to wreak!
"Antibodies," the film by German writer-director Christian Alvart, is low-cal "Silence of the Lambs." A cop with a nascent dark side needs an incarcerated serial killer's assistance to solve a grisly crime, possibly at the expense of his own sanity and salvation. Sound familiar?
There's more blood in Alvart's film than in any of the Lecter chronicles because the killer paints with it. Practically all the victims are young children, and there are even a couple of dead dogs thrown in for good measure.
Yes, yes, we know what you're thinking: How in the name of fava beans and a nice Chianti could the distributors have missed "Antibodies' " possible Valentine's Day tie-ins?
As a beat-the-
clock suspense tale, "Antibodies" activates some B-grade heart palpitations toward its climax. Alvart ultimately wimps out just as his hero is about to face the heart of darkness, which -- he'd have us believe -- we all confront.
Serial child murderer and rapist Gabriel Engel (played by Andre Hennicke) certainly faces it. After shotgunning down a police officer from inside his Berlin apartment, a naked and blood-smeared Engel crashes through a window only to be instantly apprehended by the law.
Once incarcerated, our man clams up. Trouble is, there's an unsolved murder of a 12-year-old girl in the village several hours away where former big-city cop Michael Martens (Wotan Wilke Mohring) now works as a farmer. Engel says he didn't commit that crime, but he knows who did, and he'll talk to Michael.
And why should our quite sick, blood-painting, child-murdering friend confide in a man he doesn't know and who doesn't know him? There's the mystery. The fair-haired, devoutly Christian detective, meanwhile, is having problems of his own: a town in a tizzy over an unsolved murder, and the rebellious tendencies of his own 13-year-old son, Christian (Hauke Diekamp).
As an exercise in watching a bad guy burrow too deeply into a good guy's head, "Antibodies" proves more gross than psychologically unsettling. Mohring does his job ably enough. With so many cinematic serial killers having paved the way, Hennicke's leering Engel is easily accomplished.
Would that the director had stuck to his convictions about humanity's baser nature. A movie about serial killers probably shouldn't end with a group family hug.
Evan Henerson, (818) 713-3651
ANTIBODIES - Two and one half stars
(Not rated: strong violence, sex, nudity, language)
Starring: Wotan Wilke Mohring, Andre Hennicke, Heinz Hoenig.
Director: Christian Alvart.
Running time: 2 hr. 8 min.
Playing: Beverly Center 13 Cinemas.
In a nutshell: The blood flows. The mind juices don't.
A detective (Wotan Wilke Mohring, left) seeks help from a serial killer (Andre Hennicke) to solve a murder in "Antibodies."
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Feb 16, 2007|
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