The 2019 faux movie-within-a-movie type of horror has taken up interest again, the movie, “Antrum, the deadliest film ever made”. I can’t really remember that a so popular movie have […]
The 2019 faux movie-within-a-movie type of horror has taken up interest again, the movie, “Antrum, the deadliest film ever made”. I can’t really remember that a so popular movie have fooled so many people since Blair Witch. Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of the trending now is challenging people to watch it, believing the intended myth behind this mockumentary-found footage type of movie. The premise of the cursed horror movie is of a real cursed movie from the 70s, now resurfaced. After watching it, jumping on the wagon a bit late, I couldn’t help noticing, what truly terrified me after watching. So after the initial hype has died out, and the truth is sort of “out there”, this is my take on it.
Spoilers ahead, so be warned.
The movie opens with a documentary type of style, talking about a horror movie from the 70s allegedly from the Soviet that caused the death of many many people, from casual movie goers to film festival leaders. It claims that it caused the death of 56 people in Budapest when it screened in a cinema that burned down in 1988. And also it injured and killed a woman in San Francisco in 1993 when someone laced the popcorn with LSD. Then it does a countdown of a clock, and the movie Antrum starts. Simple, but so effective. Then the “real” movie begins.
It tells the story of a teen sister and her kid brother, hiking. They recently lost their dog, and the boy is convinced the dog went to hell. So they travel to a place and try to dig their way to hell to get the dog back. They follow the instruction of a book the sister claims she got from a certain “Ike”. All told through a beautiful European art-house film from the 1970s filter, but with a horror twist in the cinematography. The rest of the movie is them battling hillbillies, what is dream, what is reality and the lurking shadows in the corner of their eyes. An honest discussion about what happens when one believes a lie.
Background of the “movie legend”
Of course, none of this is true, but it is some of the allure of the movie, and in my eyes, some of the social commentary the movie Antrum brings to the table, elevating it from mere horror-flick, to more of a drama with a purpose and moral. We learn halfway through the sister is behind it all, making the book, lying about meeting the devil and that it was all made up in order to help her brother, suffering from nightmares and the belief that the dog went to hell. But the fiction turns on her, making her lie true because of people believing in it.
Perhaps, it is a long time since a mockumentary was able to fool as big of an audience as it did. What is truly frightening is the way some with so many followers, like the teens on Tik-Tok, blogs and YouTube channels fuels this “found footage” story. Isolated, this is fun. Harmless lies we tell in the dark as we always have, as good horror intends to. It is also fascinating that even in the time of internet, were the truth is literary one google search away, people still believe the hype, the narrative, the story. On the other side, it is in these time of “fake news”, a bit sad of when we see how actual important news, fake as well as real, can be manipulated, believed and not believed in. But never mind that (puts the media education away) let’s look at how genius they did it (puts on horror loving hat):
For one, it is clear they put a lot of effort in making it be in the 70s. From the clothes, filming style, the grainy filter and color palette. Even down to that creepy CGI of the squirrel. A truly demonic entity that is.
As with other cult movies, they did something cool in the way they let the influencer who were fooled market the thing for them, making the viewing something of an event rather than just a standard movie night. Also it is something quite endearing about the collective watching of it that is only found in the horror community, I think.
Even with my obsessive googling, it took a couple of searches to truly find evidence of the falseness. Even down to the actors’ age was removed from their IMDb profiles, making it easier to keep up the belief. It is also cool about how it is finally a movie thinking more about the movie being bigger than the actors, not the other way around.
The terrifying thing about the movie Antrum
Is this a scary movie? In some regards, yes. Like the Blair Witch Project, it is the format that makes the scares, the legend behind it, the myth bigger than a simple movie. And the way the shaky camera movements from most found footage makes movies unpredictable and scary, it is the the overlaying of “cut in clips no one knows were came from” and the clip in of the sigils and Latin phrases making one question: Could it really be?
Is it truly “bad” enough to be believed in though? I think not, and I was sort of bothered about how perfect it all looked from a Soviet movie from the 70s. But then again, it did sort of look too rough to be a more “proper” movie. Also they spoke English, and none of the non-English speaking people can sort of believe that mash up. It just seems weird and sort of a very American thing to do, making it in English instead of just putting subtitles on.
What my main take of it was that it was more of a heart felt movie than a demonic one. I felt more sympathy for the siblings and believed in their relationship than I believed I was cursed by Satan after watching it.
It occurred to me mid movie, what scared me the most though. Even the myth, claims I would die few days after watching it, and that creepy demon between the trees, it was none of them though that made my heart race. It was the threat of people:
True, jump scares don’t really work on me in the long run, great costumes sort of blend in when watching as many horror movies as I do. But what never cease to scare me, are the threat of real humans. It never goes away. In the movie, not only do they have to fight of demonic entities, but some good old fashioned hillbillies, that does these random gruesome things like: fucking dead animals, boiling people alive, shooting children and wear antlers on a trucker hat. Yes, not really the most original or in depth type of characters. But when checking my pulse throughout the movie, it is sort of only in those scenes a steady rush of fear comes. I found that very interesting. That no matter how much of a supernatural, demonic myth, claiming it would take your life, nothing is as scary as the threat of real humans, wanting to do you harm.
And that is what really was terrifying about this cursed movie.
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