I’m sure I’m not alone when I hate going to the doctor and getting surgery gives me a chill. The chill comes from being wheeled into an extremely icy environment and then having a mask pulled over my face and counting backwards from ten and never getting past eight. Thankfully, the surgeries I have encountered have been successful with being able to recover and resume a normal life.
Antidote, a horror/thriller offering produced by Souvenir Films and distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment, provides us a different awakening from a post-surgery sleep.
Sharyn Berkley (Ashlynn Yennie) awakes from a lurid dream and intense pain emits from her abdomen. She is admitted to a hospital where she finds out that a ruptured appendix is the cause of her torso troubles. She enters into surgery for repairs and is put into an anesthesia sleep. When she comes to, she is strapped to a gurney and hooked up to an IV which a bag that holds a strange liquid is infused into her arm. She discovers that her appendix scar has completely healed. She meets Doctor Aaron Hellenbach (Louis Mandylor) who is conducting experiments on Sharyn and various other patients that reside in a dingy, isolated medical ward. Within the ward, Sharyn is introduced to some of the other members that reside in this odd medical facility. As each of the other patients talk about how they are tortured and what they did to deserve their fate, Sharyn comes to the realization that this is not a medical ward, but something far more sinister.
Co-written and directed by Peter Daskaloff, this movie smacks of a couple literary works that have arrived on my reading list in high school and college. These works consists of Jean Paul Sartre’s play No Exit and one of the volumes of Dante’s The Divine Comedy (I’ll let you guess which one). Combine these two scholarly entities, a dark and dirty medical ward, modern day themes, and a different but disappointing ending, have it shaken (not stirred) and you have concocted this film. The atmosphere is interesting, and it is expertly shot by Lucas Pitassi which makes the film an enjoyable view but, sadly, this plot is a tad too obvious, and the odds of the mystery being figured out long before its ending would be a gamble work taking.
While the acting is adequate throughout the film, the standout performance is that of Louis Mandylor who is terrific as Doctor Aaron Hellenbach. His firm, measured, and resonate performance provides the essential creep for the depraved and sadistic doctor.
If you haven’t read the literary works above, the mystery of Antidote may keep you guessing ‘til the end but if the following reading was required in any of your past education, you may find this film a disappointment. Your results may vary.