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‘Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made’ Review: Dirs. David Amito & Michael Laicini

Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made review: A brother and sister dig a hole to Hell in hopes of freeing their dead dog’s soul in this chilling and potentially deadly tale. 

Antrum is a fictional film (or at least we hope it is) dressed up as a documentary. The film begins in the typical documentary style, played stone-cold seriously, as we hear all about the cursed lost film Antrum. The movie has a sordid history. The first time it screened, the cinema it was showing in burned down; later screenings caused mass audience rioting. Even more sinister though is the wave of events that saw festival programmer’s that viewed the film also meet an untimely demise. According to our talking heads, it’s possible that the film itself is causing the deaths in a Ring-style way. Then Antrum shifts from documentary to cursed movie, the film crew having discovered a print previously thought to have been destroyed.

The set-up in Antrum is great. As much as you know going in that you’re watching a film of fiction, you can’t help but feel that moment of hesitation before you actually settle down to watch Antrum. Directors David Amito and Michael Laicini do a wonderful job of building tension and the story takes on an almost urban legend quality. Given all the build-up, there’s a reasonable amount of trepidation that passes through the viewer upon setting eyes upon the rather terrifying disclaimer that pops up before the ‘feature’ begins.

Once play has been pressed, we get whisked to the world of Antrum. Here Amito and Laicini have worked hard to recreate the look and feel of a seventies occult film. Not only that, but they also manage to convincingly age the print; it is supposed to have been lost for years after all. The resulting image is suitably noisy, grainy, and spotted with black spots. It all adds to the authenticity of the piece. The costuming and camerawork also reinforces the seventies style, whilst a sneaky occasional splice of a supposed occult symbol adds a nice unsettling element. Just don’t even think about trying to play any kind of drinking games with spotting them as, according to the documentary, there are 170 flashes of said image. What is really special about how the film has been constricted though is the audio. Pretty much the entire film is accompanied by atmospheric score, but it is the inclusion of random whispering and chants that really gets under the skin. They materialise unexpectedly and are the biggest cause of anxiety when watching. It’s made all the more intense when watching with headphones on.

In terms of plot, there isn’t really a great deal, which in many ways is also typical of the time. The story follows siblings Nathan and Oralee as they go to the rumoured site of where Lucifer fell from grace. They venture there in the hopes of saving the soul of their beloved dog Nathan, believing the dog to have ended up in the bad place. Upon arrival at their location, they begin a summoning ritual which boils down to them digging a big hole. As they begin to drill down, the pair start to hallucinate (or do they?), and it soon becomes clear that they aren’t alone. The streamlined plot is a little simplistic, but it’s the lack of character work that really hinders the film. We don’t really get to know our siblings, and with the camera being forever at a distance from them; there’s a real disconnect from them.

Nicely framed with a documentary facade, Antrum presents an interesting concept. Suitably authentic to the era of cinema that they are channelling, the main film may lack character development, but makes up for it by generating a genuinely uneasy atmosphere. And as for the curse’s validity? Well we only watched the film a couple of days ago… so maybe give it a few more before following us in viewing Antrum. 

Antrum is available on digital platforms now. 

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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