M.L. Miller here and welcome to my tenth anniversary Best in Horror Countdown! Every day in this glorious month of October I’ll be counting down the best in horror, culminating with the best horror film since last Halloween! With theaters closed for the bulk of this shitty, shitty year, much of the countdown comes from alternative sources like streaming services, digital download, and On Demand. Plus, we saw the return of the drive-in theater, which is awesome! This list compiles the best horror films released beginning on October 1, 2019 and ending on September 30, 2020. No elitism here—only films released to the public on this list which rules out haughty festival flicks that only esteemed reviewers get to see. If it played on a public screen this year, it’s fair game to be on the list. Here we go!
Released on November 12, 2019. Available on digital download and On Demand from Uncork’d Entertainment! Also streaming on Tubi!
ANTRUM: THE MOST DANGEROUS FILM EVER MADE (2018)
Directed by David Amito, Michael Laicini
Written by David Amito, Michael Laicini
Starring Nicole Tompkins, Rowan Smyth, Dan Istrate, Circus-Szalewski, Shu Sakimoto, Kristel Elling, Lucy Rayner, Pierluca Arancio
Find out more about this film here!
I saw ANTRUM: THE MOST DANGEROUS FILM EVER MADE a few weeks ago—a movie that is said to curse horrible misfortune and cause even death to those who watch it. But I’m still kickin’. So much for that.
Filmed in a mockumentary format, ANTRUM goes through a little history of this cursed film and interviews with film scholars and historians before showing the actual film itself. All of it fits together quite well as these bits set an ominous tone with tales of theater fires, subliminal messaging, and other instances where watching the film results in catastrophe. These segments look and feel realistic with actors who are convincing playing the roles of experts of the material.
Once we get to the actual film itself, the film has a lot to live up to given the amount of hype it receives in the opening sequences. Thankfully, the film lives up to the hype and proves to be equally creepy as it tells the story of a brother and sister who decide to dig a hole to the underworld in the middle of the woods. While they don’t get too deep, the do manage to stumble into a form of hell when they raise the attention of two hermits in a junkyard who seems to practice worship of dark forces and do even fouler things to anyone they capture. The surreal story has the children in a fight for their lives to find their way home and out of the clutches of these monsters.
The film, while less than an hour long, is a harrowing tale that is part grindhouse, part fairy tale–mixing both genres into one potent and diabolical little package. The film feels authentically made from that dirty, down-homey seventies era where things just feel unkempt, grimy, and dangerous. The acting is decent, especially the two child actors playing Oralee (Nicole Tompkins) and Nathan (Rowan Smyth). Equally effective are the twisted men after them played by Dan Istrate and Curcus-Szalewski who have a dankness to them that you can almost smell while watching. It all feels gristly and real, as if you are watching a snuff film with the kids being oblivious to the ominous horror they are being put through. There is a real and potent feel of wrongness about the film with some truly effective handheld shots, the subliminal Satanic imagery, and the aged look of it all. The film doesn’t even show much depravity or horror, but what is suggested right off camera and in the periphery is spooky enough.
Alone, I don’t know if both parts could have worked and I think pairing the mockumentary up with the film itself was a great way to approach this subject matter. Played together and you get a movie that may not live up to its subtitle of being THE MOST DANGEROUS FILM EVER MADE, but it comes damn near close. I was effectively creeped out by this one and if you’re in the mood for some off the wall and intense icks and ooze, ANTRUM: THE MOST DANGEROUS FILM EVER MADE is one off kilter film that will definitely fester in your mind longer than you’ll want it to. Recommended for the sickos out there. You know who you are.
THE 2019-2020 COUNTDOWN!
#30 – ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE
#31 – REPLACE
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
Interested in advertising on MLMILLERWRITES? Feel free to contact me here and we can talk turkey!
Don’t forget to share, like, and come back tomorrow for more reviews!