In German with English subtitles, Antibodies is a twisting psychological horror film. Director Christian Alvart may be on his way to Hollywood even if it does feel like a pastiche of better serial killer pictures.
The vicious Engel (Andre Hennicke) is captured in Berlin for homicide, and a rural community is content to put closure to a year-and-a-half unsolved case. Michael, a brooding Wotan Wilke Mohring, is a local part-time officer when not farming, and skeptical about Engel.
The conflict and nuance begins to start as the well-spoken convict will confide solely with Michael, allowing the top city cop (Heinz Hoenig) to put this young guy into a situation that turns to obsession and much discomfort with his family.
Mohring is pretty sharp in underlining the gullibility and sympathy of someone on the verge of going over the edge. There are religious underpinnings with insight into all those in and around the righteous and the strongly sinister. It is a mind game between the most deviously freaky and a noble, novice upholder of the law. The gritty texture from Alvart allows immediacy to what is happening in the country opposite the urban, with the horrible crimes transposed against Michael's struggles at home.
For the detectives in the audience they may be able to pick up on clues early on to what's going on, as the narrative would appear to be poisoned, no pun intended. But, Hoenig provides what may be necessary comic relief, and Hennicke wickedly chews the scenery. One line nods blatantly to something Antibodies often emulates, Silence of the Lambs, when Engel states, "Were you expecting Hannibal Lecter."
As a procedural and a poignant tale of provocative desperation, Antibodies doesn't cut with the brilliance of Jonathan Demme's riveting Oscar winner that starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. But, the conclusion is rather unexpected and more eerily felt than anticipated, probably due to the well-defined internalized efforts of the performers rather than the taut intrigue intended by Alvart.