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Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Uncork'd Entertainment

article-cover

Written and directed by David Amito and Michael Laicini
2018, 95 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Released on 12th November 2019

Starring:
Nicole Tompkins as Oralee
Rowan Smyth as Nathan
Dan Istrate as Cassius
Circus Szalewski as Hanzie

Review:

You watch it, you die; no, not Ringu, nor its American counterpart, Antrum is the real deal. Or so The Deadliest Film Ever Made would have you believe. Preceded by a mockumentary which tells the stories of the unfortunate few to have viewed Antrum (and subsequently died) this is a cursed picture that kills. Which is quite a way to set the tone for one’s low-budget little horror flick, all before the opening credits have even started rolling.

The main event itself, then, a 70s horror film about a boy and his sister, attempting to dig their way into Hell to rescue his recently euthanized dog. Claiming she knows the exact spot Lucifer fell from heaven, Oralee takes her baby brother out into the woods to find his portal into Hell. Instead, they find weird hillbillies, talking squirrels and a wicker man (alright, goat) of metal. 

antrum 01 antrum 02

Lacking a big budget to play with, directors David Amito and Michael Laicini tap into the aesthetic of 1970s arthouse (visually, it’s not dissimilar to Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy) hiding any shortcomings behind a dreamy, degraded fuzz and iffy dubbing. Still, there’s something about it that feels a little too clean and artificial, in a way that Mandy did not. Right down to the bookending mockumentary, this is Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, without the (intentional) laughs.

Flashes of supposed snuff movie and satanic sigils attempt to liven up all of the talking, but Antrum never lives up to the hype of ‘the deadliest film ever made’. Purporting to come from an era that brought us Faces of Death, Cannibal Holocaust and the rest of the video nasties – films which felt genuinely transgressive and dangerous – a modern imitation like this could never live up to its predecessors. No modern film can, not really.

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Taken on its own merits, however, there’s still plenty to like. Nicole Tompkins and Rowan Smyth are likeable as siblings Oralee and Nathan, and the film’s unsettling, off-kilter reality excuses the occasionally wooden performances. Cinematographer Maksymilian Milczarczyk gets the most out of the woodland setting, recalling The Evil Dead and The Blair Witch Project; moody, gothic and foreboding, even in broad daylight. The hillbillies' shack and surrounding car graveyard does a better job of recreating The Texas Chain Saw Massacre than any sequel that film ever got. There’s a lot of aimless wandering around and meandering, but it always looks great, and nails the Satanic imagery too.

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The Deadliest Film Ever Made never lives up to its own hype, but does enough interesting things in-between that it doesn’t entirely need to. It looks and sounds like a treat, and its story is hypnotic, in spite of how it sometimes drags between the action. Those bookends are unnecessary – and ultimately do Antrum a great disservice – but it makes for fascinating viewing. It might be a frustrating ride at times, but it’s a rewarding one. A little self-indulgence never hurt anyone, and nor will the so-called Deadliest Film Ever Made.

Grades:

Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Writer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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