There have been plenty of horror films about horror footage that kills the viewer like “The Ring,” John Carpenter’s “Masters of Horror” episode “Cigarette Burns,” and “Feardotcom,” which meant the flurry surrounding “Antrum” was easy to buy into. “The Blair Witch Project” had already duped fans into thinking the film was real once before, and with the very real court cases required to prove “Cannibal Holocaust” was fake lingering in the back of the minds of horror fans, the theory didn’t seem impossible.
There’s always been a fascination with the concept of “cursed films,” so much so that Shudder has an entire docuseries dedicated to these notorious production campfire tales. “Antrum” is set up in a similar style to a BBC documentary, feeling in line with the brilliant “Ghostwatch.” It was the perfect recipe to fool unsuspecting horror fans, and certainly helped generate a powerful word-of-mouth fan campaign. As /Film’s Witney Seibold rightfully pointed out in discussing films that reportedly made viewers physically ill, “Any claim, however, that a film is so scary it might kill me is certainly going to attract my attention. After all, what better way for a cinephile to go out than to be killed by a film?”
In his review out of Sitges, /Film’s Rafael Motamayor praised the film’s commitment to the gimmick, and praised the actual “cursed” film for being effectively scary. He wrote, “As the film goes along, the superimposed demonic sigils appear in random frames (170 of them! According to the documentary), and images of demons staring at the audience start appearing, we’re off to a delicious life with some truly creepy imagery.” So while the film might not actually be cursed or kill people, it’s still a fun ride!