At heart, Antibodies owes itself to The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and its idea of the jailed evil genius serial killer who plays games with the investigator come to ask questions of him and secretly manipulates the entire investigation from within the confines of his cell. Antibodies especially latches onto the aspect about the serial killer getting inside the investigators head with his questions, developing this out far more than The Silence of the Lambs did with a plot about how Wotan Wilke Möhring becomes infected by Andre Hennickes evil (presumably what the antibodies of the title refer to). Antibodies does far too obviously tip its hand of inspiration in one scene where Andre Hennicke makes a joke and asks Wotan Wilke Möhring who he was expecting, Hannibal Lecter? Despite its debt of inspiration, Antibodies develops its Silence of the Lambs basics out into a strong and original story of its own.
Antibodies is initially slow moving, taking its time before it indicates which direction it is going in. The contrast between the placid and staid country life filled with hunting, tending cattle and church-going and the city where Wotan Wilke Möhring seems to be surrounded by an excess of sexual temptation at every turn is perhaps made too black-and-white. This does however lead to an effective series of scenes where we see a virtuous Christian family man Wotan Wilke Möhring being tempted by the questions that the killer puts in his head, including a disturbing scene where we see him stapling the skin of his forearm to stop his lusts. We can see the film wheeling into place the probable identity of Lucias killer but the film plays this out with some effective surprises. Here the film borrows not only from The Silence of the Lambs but also from the ending of Se7en (1995) and the scenes where Kevin Spacey sets everything up to deliver the box to Brad Pitt. It is eventually an improbably contrived scheme but is undeniably well written. The ending raises this to the level of Biblical metaphor (again not unlike Se7en) with contrasts to Abrahams sacrifice of his own son (although Antibodies does get its allegories somewhat mixed Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac out of obedience to Gods will, whereas here [PLOT SPOILERS] Wotan Wilke Möhring goes to sacrifice his son to spread what he believes to be the blight of his evil).
There is also the frequent theme that we get in a number of German films of the petty bourgeois conservatism of small communities. One suspects this is a deep-seated reaction to the way that so many people did so little to stand up during the era of Nazism and by wilful inaction allowed evil to transpire. There have been a number of German films that point to this small-mindedness and imply it is the root that fascism needs to thrive. We see disturbing portraits of smalltown life like where hero Wotan Wilke Möhring is out hunting with his father-in-law (Klaus Zmorek) who deliberately shoots his dog because he does not like the idea of Möhring doing a DNA sweep of the village, or just the way the priest holds up giving Möhring the communion wafer.
Antibodies was the second film from Christian Alvart. He was subsequently employed in Hollywood to make the devil child film Case 39 (2009) and the science-fiction film Pandorum (2009) and then returned to Germany to make the non-genre 8:28 AM (2010).