Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (also known simply as Antrum) is a 2018 horror film written and directed by David Amito and Michael Laicini. It is a mockumentary that purports to tell the story of a film named Antrum, which was shot in 1979 about a brother and sister, Oralee and Nathan, who dig a hole to find the titular entrance to Hell. The documentary staff note the incidents in which film festival organizers and goers mysteriously died after watching the film. Experts spoken to also note that Antrum was altered in some way, spliced with more horrific footage, which may or may not allow the film to kill its viewers. The staff are able to locate a print of the actual film and then screen it as part of this film proper.
Antrum itself debuted at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival in 2018 and was quietly distributed to Amazon. The film became a sleeper hit in 2020, as users of social media platform TikTok created the "Antrum Challenge" to encourage others to watch the film.
This film provides examples of:
- Bestiality Is Depraved: One of the cannibals is seen penetrating a deer carcass in his introduction.
- Convenient Escape Boat: Oralee leads Nathan to one to escape the cannibals. Suberveted in that this may be the boat they arrived to this forest in, but we only previously saw them in a car.
- Credits Gag:
- The opening credits for the cursed film include names in Cyrillic script, as well as Polish and English names. It brings into question just where this film came from in the first place.
- The closing credits attempt to obscure the nature of the film-within-a-film by listing its actors as having their names "translated" from the original film.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The two cannibals have a large statue of Baphomet that functions as a brazen bull torture device. Muffled screams are heard inside as they stoke the fire.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Several of the sinister elements in the film are all blink-and-you'll-miss-it. These items are all revealed by the documentary staff after the film portion finishes, with the sigil of Astaroth appearing over 170 times.
- The phrase "Abyssus abyssum invocat" (Latin, "one misstep leads to another"; lit. "Hell invokes hell") appears as the couple stand at the entrance to the forest. "Cave ab homine unius libri" (Latin, "Beware the man of one book"note ) appears backwards as Oralee jumps off the boat to find Nathan.
- A stylized pentagram revealed in the credits as the sigil of Astaraoth and shots of profusely bleeding people in a tiled room or shower also appear several times throughout the runtime.
- Interrupted Suicide: Oralee and Nathan stumble upon a Japanese man who came to the forest to commit suicide. Nathan's cry causes the man to pause as he's about to disembowel himself.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There's just enough evidence for both possibilities. Either the children actually did awake something Satanic in the woods which led to (or at least coincided) with the dangers they faced, or it was all in their heads. note
- Mercy Kill: Oralee and Nathan's dog Maxine is euthanized at the beginning of the film. Nathan begins seeing horrific visions because of this, which leads to his sister Oralee helping him overcome by digging a path to Hell.
- Possibly a subversion, as at the beginning their mother says that Maxine won't go to Heaven because she was a "bad dog," and a flashback later in the film strongly implies that Maxine bit someone, possibly Nathan.
- Nothing Is Scarier: During one of Nathan's visions, the film sound cuts entirely as a barely lit demonic face stays on screen staring at the viewer for half a minute. The sound track of the film grain cuts back in and the film continues as normal.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: A demon is heard whispering when Nathan reveals he was scratched on the leg by "them". It goes away when the holy water is poured on the injury. It returns later as Oralee jumps ni the water to retrieve Nathan, only the second time she ducks her head underwater, the Lord's Prayer is muttered instead.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: The two cannibals speak in an Eastern European dialect and their dialogue remains untranslated throughout the film.
- Retraux: The film itself is convincingly shot like a late 70s film, including colour grading, stock, distortions, etc.
- Sdrawkcab Speech: Nathan speaks a line backwards after being rescued from the lake.
- Snowball Lie: Oralee, concerned for his brother's mental health after the death of their dog Maxine, constructs a full book of demonology, credits it to a classmate named Ike, and takes him to the woods to "dig a hole to Hell" so that the two of them can "save Maxine's soul". Oralee finally reveals this to Nathan once the charade backfires miserably.
- The Stinger: After the Antrum portion of the film plays, Oralee is seen roaming the woods screaming for Nathan. As she sees actual demonic figures, she fills the hole they dug with branches and the torn up book and burns it in the hope the demons will leave. They do not. When Nathan returns with the dog he found to the tent, Oralee possibly shoots him as he opens the tent, mistaking him for a demon.
- Stop Motion: The demon that takes the form of a squirrel is presented in this way.
- Title Drop: The antrum (Latin for "cave") is the gateway into Hell, according to Oralee.
- Wham Line: Nathan casts serious doubt on Oralee's Snowball Lie that Ike (and his demonology book) were made up by her:
- Nathan: "But...I met him."