[BAFF 2019] 'Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made' may not really kill, but is effective nonetheless
Using gimmicks to promote a horror flick traces back to the very beginning of the genre. Alfred Hitchcock denying entrance after the start of his movie, William Castle pairing “fear insurance” or vomit bags with his films, and Ruggero Dedodato convincing his actors to ‘disappear” for a year to add further realism to Cannibal Holocaust. However, do the gimmicks work?...
...Sometimes. Sometimes the efforts result in the loss of money and other times lead to murder charges. It’s always a gamble when the directors and producers decide to attach a gimmick to their motion picture. Antrum, The Deadliest Film Ever Made plays with a similar gimmick as the movie advertises itself as a feature so dangerous, everyone who watches it will die. This ‘cursed’ film supposedly possess such evil, to watch the movie in its entirety will doom any viewer. Directors David Amito and Michael Laicini presented the picture at the Buried Alive Festival yesterday, and as far as I know, the audience members remain alive. Unlike the opening segment of the film, no electrocutions, riots, poisoning, or fires occurred, so it appears Amito and Lacini did not present a picture made by the actual devil. At least we hope so.
The movie begins with a BBC style documentary in which Antrum aficionados and film critics gather to discuss the mythology and urban legends which surround the picture. We learn more about the history of Antrum, but little becomes revealed about the actual plot. Instead, the first ten minutes of the movie serve as a ‘film within a film’ and provides warnings about Antrum because the images will cause seizures, anxiety, panic, and of course…death. And since the creators of the documentary have recently found the original copy of Antrum, we are about to enjoy the deadliest film ever made.
Within the documentary portion of the movie we learn Antrum came from Eastern Europe and was probably created some time in the 1970s. And I have to say, the directors do well with their commitment to stylizing a ‘found’ film. As we transition from documentary to the actual feature, the opening credits depicts two siblings clad in 70s-style clothing and even the physical appearance of the film gives the impression we are watching an older movie. Antrum does not completely erase all traces of the present day, but the grainy appearance of the picture in certain scenes does help with convincing the audience the film hails from the 70s.
The plot of the film involves Oralee (Nicole Tompkins) and her little brother Nathan (Rowan Smyth) leaving home because their dog died, and they have a terrible mother. For some reason, the sister knows the exact location where Lucifer fell to Earth and now the siblings plan to dig up the spot as an attempt to save their dog’s soul. Why? Because digging a hole leading to hell will free the spirit of their beloved pet. Following instructions from a hand-written book, Oralee explains to her little brother the various spells of protection they must perform in order to successfully dig the hole to hell. She claims a mysterious man named Ike passed all this info to her, thus making her an expert on the subject. Oralee believes she is creating a way for her brother to cope with their incredibly disinterested mother and the recent loss of their dog, but as they descend through the layers, the boundary between make-believe and actual occurrences abruptly ends.
The movie proves difficult to look away from, not because of gross displays or a particularly compelling plot, but the picture visually engages with the audience. Images relating to demons and the occult appear throughout the film (the documentary portion claims there are over 100 such occurrences) which greatly adds to the ‘cursed’ film narrative. Sometimes the images appear to the main characters, allowing the boy and girl to witness as their surroundings become more sinister. Other times visuals intended solely for the audience appear as Latin warnings, pentagram shaped cigarette burns, or gruesome displays of violence quickly flash across the screen. With the combination of ephemeral music, guttural whisperings, a satanic plotline, and demonic imagery, it is a good thing this film was actually released in present day because this movie would have broken the 70s.
And while the story of two children digging a hole to hell may seem like a family friendly outing with plenty of sunshine and beautiful nature, the brother and sister soon learn they are not alone in these woods. The movie plays with the tried and true theme of 1970s horror films that if young people venture out into nature, they will quickly discover creepy weirdos who make up for their lack of social niceties with demented murderous tendencies. It seems these woods inspire people to partake in some pretty intense acts of torture (self-inflicted and the regular kind). The directors incorporate images of seppuku and a Brazen Bull (torture device supposedly used in ancient Rome) which makes it seem these woods really do serve as some kind of meeting place for death and evil because a few different cultures convene in the forest to make some kind of death-related offering.
The Antrum portion of the movie takes a bit to find an appropriate pace and develop a connection between the brother and sister, but the slow rise of evil matches the theme of 70s films without completely leaving behind fans of present-day horror cinema. The characters, music, throw-back to the 70s appearance, and demonic surprises make Antrum an enjoyable watch, but does the gimmick of the documentary actually add to the tension and scare factor? I think it does. A couple times the documentary portion might over explain the reasoning behind some of the deaths associated with the film, but the true story aspect explained in the intro and outro allows for an interesting level of reality. Suspend your disbelief and approach the movie like any type of found footage film or feature claiming to be “based on a true story” and you will be rewarded. And rest assured, dear reader because no harm will befall you if you watch the film. I mean…I’m still alive. For now.
By Amylou Ahava
4/10/2020 03:32:44 pm
12/20/2020 10:33:59 pm
Are your still alive after watching it
4/9/2020 05:31:45 pm
I believe anyone pushing or inticing people to watch such things as this are they themselves in danger of living out eternity with satan himself in an eternal burning hell. So be careful what u try to get people to become interested in. The deaths that occur could be ur own in a burning Hell that is real as I believe and can u imagine the regrets u would have when u get to Hell that u done this to people.
4/10/2020 03:35:47 pm
what are u even trying to say
4/10/2020 09:16:24 pm
Hail satan. He shall not smite me for I walk with the dark lord always. My blood flows for the great goat as I fall through the circles of hell and reside as a dog at his side.
4/25/2020 12:20:42 pm
your fucking weird
5/4/2020 02:51:03 pm
The goat figure depicted in the movie isn’t what the devil looks like. The Catholic Church took a deity from Pagans and said that that is what Satan looked like. They did this to strike fear in people and to try and convince them that Pagans worship the devil. Which they don’t, they worship nature and believe that it has healing qualities. Also if you worship Satan you should at least capitalize his name..
4/11/2020 09:30:58 pm
reading all of this makes me want to watch it more! i mean there’s the chance i could die but why not roll those dice, i mean what else is there to do in quarantine?
4/18/2020 08:52:48 pm
I’m watching it now- I’ll tell you if it’s worth watching when I’m done ✅
4/19/2020 12:22:26 pm
Did anything happen
4/21/2020 08:09:32 pm
Yo dude did you die??
4/28/2020 03:00:51 pm
are you okay?
6/27/2020 12:33:01 pm
4/12/2020 04:42:06 pm
good news! writer is still alive. this article was written in 2019 and she’s active on twitter in 2020
4/18/2020 08:49:34 pm
I’m watching it now- I’m on minute 27:12. I’m kinda scared but I prayed twice before it and I’m wearing my gold cross necklace And I’m going to pray a lot during the movie.
4/19/2020 12:23:34 pm
Are you still alive
4/21/2020 09:23:45 am
are u alive? wanna watch it but im scared
4/19/2020 12:05:21 pm
4/19/2020 06:56:11 pm
I’m watching it with my mom and older sister I’ll let you know if we die 😍🤪✌🏻
4/25/2020 06:29:15 pm
bro did you die
4/25/2020 07:07:28 am
4/26/2020 02:18:31 pm
im at 45 minutes right now and this stuffs really freaky but it’s calming, I’ll let you guys know if I die or not
4/26/2020 11:25:07 pm
Well it’s currently 12:24 A.M and I’m starting the movie. Wish me luck 😬😰😰☠️
4/28/2020 03:05:34 pm
Im gonna watch the movie later with me boyfriend ((after I explain to him what it is first ofccc, want to make sure hes okay with it))
4/28/2020 03:06:42 pm
my boyfriend* omg haha
5/5/2020 04:22:20 am
yehhh we're fine! :) it did put me on edge a lot tho, I had to keep asking him if we was gonna be okay xd (we watched it last night) so im gonna give it a few days and come back bc who knows something might happen, we'll seeeee
6/7/2020 03:18:57 pm
Just finished watching. The combination of binaural beats and spliced in demonic images is what gives this film it's "curse."
8/8/2020 04:45:49 pm
You ok and I’m a different jayden
8/15/2020 12:28:57 pm
Who has watched it and is still breathing?
12/20/2020 10:39:40 pm
Fr bro. Please tell me
8/16/2020 07:07:41 pm
Giysy, I'm worried about Jayden!
9/3/2020 01:42:07 pm
Im watching. Will update. Watching it alone. If anyone would like to call me my number is +15158155118. Keep me company lmao. Kinda scary, lol.
9/26/2020 10:09:54 am
so i watched it and i died a 2 days later...
11/21/2020 07:40:15 pm
I died bro fuckkk
11/21/2020 07:59:24 pm
Wow how it feels??being dead??
1/6/2021 05:14:46 pm
Watching it right now, I’ll tell y’all if I survived tomorrow
1/6/2021 11:07:57 pm
Still Alive for now
1/7/2021 06:02:17 am
Yeah still alive
1/8/2021 08:34:59 am
Been around 2 days now, I’m still alive
2/2/2021 09:37:13 am
I'm watching it now and this film is not going to kill me, I'm evil enough as it is lol
3/7/2021 01:32:24 pm
Im abt to watch I will keep you updated if I survived or not lol.
4/16/2021 05:29:08 pm
Am about to watch it, but m really really really scared, call me if I die, +2347042959288
I started watching it about 1 am and about 30 minutes into it my cat started acting weird and scared running around looking up at the ceiling. I keep hearing noises outside and my heart started fluttering. I don't know but it's really weird. It feels like someone is watching me. I will let you all know how it goes. Wish me luck as I will everyone else who watches.
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