MAY 30 — One of the great things about having extra time at home during quarantine is how it converts even the most casual of movie fans into curious movie hunters.
After a few weeks of catching up with what we personally think as essential viewing, there will come a time when we seem to have run out of things to watch, especially when the quarantine period keeps on getting extended and is now set to reach at least three months, and who knows if even that might be extended further in a week’s time.
So with that much time to kill, and only as many movies we think we wanted to see, we begin to seek out more below-the-radar stuff; from semi-forgotten recent movies to under-rated cult hits from the last few decades to even taking a punt on interesting-sounding new releases on the various movie streaming platforms available out there.
Of course I’ve been doing this for years now, not only during the quarantine period, as I’ve always had a thirst for discovering movies, especially ones that are off the beaten track.
But it’s nice to see other people doing the same, especially the TikTok generation, and one of the films I’ll be talking about is a surprise TikTok generation global hit during this time of quarantine, with plenty of videos being made and shared online, even on YouTube, about their experience hunting for and watching this horror flick, which was actually released last year to practically no fanfare at all.
So let the discovery begin!
She Never Died
Released in April 2020 after playing genre festivals in late 2019, this remake of the 2015 film He Never Died (which starred Henry Rollins) is actually more like a spinoff or sequel.
Those expecting just a gender switched remake will be very pleasantly surprised, for this film by Canadian director Audrey Cummings is far more entertaining, action packed and swiftly paced than the rather dull 2015 film.
Concentrating on a lead character that possesses the same traits as the 2015 film, that is one who survives on eating human flesh, She Never Died focuses on Lacey (a spectacular star making performance from Olunike Adeliyi), who is seen dispatching bad guys with ease (it’s her conscious choice to only target terrible criminals to satisfy her hunger) and eating them afterwards right from the film’s start.
The plot kicks in when a detective witnesses one of Lacey’s rampages and how she somehow survives a gunshot to the head, leading him to make a deal with Lacey to help him take down a human trafficking ring that he’s been investigating.
Playing like a revenge movie, She Never Died is a brutal and exciting action thriller that’s pretty slickly shot, with plenty of neatly choreographed action sequences that will keep you engaged, despite its clear status as a low budget indie movie.
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
This is that TikTok generation film I mentioned above, which started playing at genre festivals in 2018 and was quietly released on VOD by B-movie specialists Uncork’d Entertainment in November 2019 to virtually no fanfare at all.
Fast forward a few months later, and very obviously thanks to quarantine life, Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made became the top trending title on Amazon Prime in April, with the #AntrumChallenge trending on TikTok as users challenge each other to watch the movie, and debate the veracity of the movie’s claims — that it’s a cursed film and that anyone who watches it will die.
It’s an undoubtedly brilliant marketing gimmick by the film’s writer-directors David Amito and Michael Laicini; the film poses as a sort of documentary with talking head interviews to establish the legend that the film has been lost for quite some time and those who’ve seen it have all died.
It is only after about 10 minutes of this “documentary” part that the actual film begins, complete with disclaimers, and I’ve to admit that it’s quite a thrill to be part of the experience of watching it.
As for the actual “cursed” film itself, it’s a pretty competent recreation of an arty 1970s horror flick, complete with a highly memorable theme tune, but if there’s anything you can die of from watching this part of the film, it’s boredom.
In short, if I were to just rate Antrum, I’d probably give it a 4 or 5 out of 10, but when you count in the documentary part, which makes it Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made, I’d give it a solid 6 or 7 out of 10 for providing the thrill that all of us horror fans look for.
The scares are not in the film itself, but in the very act of watching it, and for that, my hat goes off to the film’s cheeky directors!
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.