ANTIDOTE (aka PANACEA, 2021)
Directed by Peter Daskaloff.
Written by Peter Daskaloff, Matthew Toronto.
Starring Ashlynn Yennie, Louis Mandylor, Augie Duke, Yorgos Karamihos, Ravi Naidu, Scott Alin, Evan Faunce, Olive Bernadette Hoffman, Konstantinos Lachanas, Elli Rahn, Alexi Stavrou, Christos Vasilopoulos, Gina Venditti, Jeremy S. Walker
Sharyn (Ashlynn Yennie) wakes up with acute appendicitis and is rushed into surgery. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a strange medical ward and bound to her bad. She is greeted by Dr. Hallenbach (Louis Mandylor) who informs her that she is in a special unit and requires rest. Denying contact with her husband and child, Sharyn finds she is not alone on this unit which is full of eccentric patients with tragic backstories much like Sharyn’s who was once a drug addict and lost her boyfriend to suicide. The longer Sharyn stays in this strange medical unit, the odder things get as she is given a healing serum that seems to be a cure-all for any physical wound and begins seeing hallucinations from her past. It is evident that this is no normal medical ward.
ANTIDOTE does a great job of highlighting the fear of hospitals and doctors. No matter how many medical shows we watch, there is a mysterious and almost mystic quality to hospitals that can easily bend to horror. We are asked to accept odd tools and techniques as normal and the cold, long corridors often suggest the worst kinds of terrors behind the many doors. ANTIDOTE takes advantage this universal horror of hospitals in a very capable way, providing a setting that is sure to effect anyone who has ever been in a situation requiring a hospital with one’s fate is uncertain. There are a lot of mysteries in ANTIDOTE, and the setting really amps this quality up.
The other thing that makes ANTIDOTE a potent little thriller is Ashlynn Yennie who had an infamous role in THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE and its sequel. Yennie takes on another medical horror in this one, but ANTIDOTE allows her to really show her skills as an actress as she plays the hapless victim, yet has enough gruff and gumption to be believable when she fights back. There’s a real leading woman quality about her in this film that highlights the highs and lows of Sheryn’s complex life leading to her imprisonment in this medical unit. It’s worth mentioning that Louis Mandylor is downright unnerving as Dr. Hallenback as he retains a pleasant demeanor and non-descript accent even while administering some heinous medical treatment. His presence definitely adds to the unease of this medical nightmare.
ANTIDOTE becomes predictable the longer Sharyn is on the unit and the stranger the unit gets. I won’t spoil it, but I’m sure you will be able to guess the ending if you’re given three tries and have seen enough horror films. Still, the performances are above par for this type of movie and ANTIDOTE takes full advantage of its nightmarish scenario and setting, despite the predictability of its story.