Antidote Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Souvenir Films
Directed by Peter Daskaloff
Written by Peter Daskaloff and Matthew Toronto
2021, 87 minutes, Not Yet Rated
FrightFest UK Premiere on 30th August 2021
Ashlyn Yennie as Sharyn Berkley
Louis Mandaylor as Dr. Aaron Hellenbach
Augie Duke as Cassandra
Yorgos Karamihos as Costas
No stranger to humiliation, Ashlynn Yennie, star of The Human Centipede and its sequel, takes on her greatest indignity yet – this movie. Held captive in a secret medical facility, Sharyn (Yennie) is subjected to a series of horrific surgical procedures. Initially admitted with a serious case of appendicitis, the last thing Sharyn expects is to be locked up and have her limbs lopped off – but under the eye (and knives) of the sadistic Doctor Hellenbach (Louis Mandaylor), this is what she is prescribed.
Part One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, part Martyrs, this psychological body horror film follows Sharyn as she attempts to escape. Had it been released ten to fifteen years ago, during horror’s love affair with torture and forced surgeries, Antidote would have been well at home alongside the likes of Captivity or the various Human Centipedes. Such movies still emerge from time to time (see the recent Sleepless Beauty and Breeder), but they’re not as omnipresent as they once were, nor quite as horrible.
Director Peter Daskaloff dials back the gore, putting the focus on Hellenbach and his mystery hospital. Yennie and Mandaylor gamely give it their all, but they are unsupported by the film’s plotting and low budget. It’s a film that can handle an amputation (the best scene in the whole thing) but then saddles one character with an obvious bald wig and fills the finale with even worse CGI. Iffy special effects can be forgiven in a low-budget movie like this one, but the wooden characters and silly story are less excusable.
The doctor’s diabolical plan is fine – something something immortality through human suffering – but the writing fails to sell the horror of Sharyn’s predicament, and the film is padded out with a ridiculous supernatural subplot and bizarre twist ending. Say what you will about Tom Six’s Human Centipede trilogy, but at least there was a coherency to his horrific vision. Antidote has no atmosphere and the flat tonelessness of a TV movie. Daskaloff doesn’t even have the good grace to go full nasty with it – aside from its big amputation scene, it’s surprisingly tame.
Regardless, the story bumbles along, ensuring that the whole thing is at least over and done with by the ninety-minute mark. Dull it may be, but the nimble pacing ensures that there’s no time to get properly bored. For all its flaws, Antidote is inoffensive enough, enlivened by the work of Yennie and Mandaylor. This bland, unexciting movie doesn’t deserve them, but their presence is enough to make it bearable, at least.
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.