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Review: Antidote Gives The Effect Of Making Us A Silent Third Companion

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Antidote

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland that shows very little carnage or bodies a brother and sister in law travel across an empty snowy landscape. The camera is often positioned alongside/behind the two at eye level. This gives the effect of making us a silent third companion following the two. At the start it feels a bit like the Blair Witch Project but the cinematography is much more creative and professional than what you’d see in a clichéd found footage movie.

The superb sound design and score add pace to what can sometimes be over-lingering scenes of nothing. The sparseness of the sets and action make the end of the world seem quite boring really. Thankfully the cast do a fantastic job at keeping the viewer interested in whether or not they’ll survive. The brother, Matthew (Michael Izquierdo) is showing symptoms of a virus that has decimated the population.

There’s a cure that will keep him alive but the side effects will turn him into a violent blood spewing monster. They don’t call them zombies but this is definitely a zombie movie.

The gore is used sparingly though. Deaths appear mostly off camera. The makeup effects used to show Matthew’s worsening condition are understated. A blue vein here, a lesion there. It makes the virus and the world the pair live in seem more real. Of course as it spreads the movie turns into a nastier body horror and borrows a few elements from the Fly.

When Matthew becomes bedridden the pacing grinds down to a halt and we spend most of the movie following Hannah (Kathleen Wise) as she struggles to keep the two of them alive. Antidote owes so much to her subtle charismatic performance. Without it the film could have been an 80 minute sleeping pill. Praise should also be given to the general professionalism of what is clearly a low budget movie. The filmmakers use the lack of resources to their advantage, allowing the muted colour palette and empty sets to give a coldness which Matthew and Hannah shelter each other from.

In contrast to the environment they’re trekking though, their relationship has a cosy warmth to it. But we aren’t given enough backstory to truly know them as characters. At the end I wasn’t sure whether I liked them. There are a lot of slow sequences in Antidote, which could have been used to make the characters more empathetic. This would also have helped add tension to scenes of them searching dark corridors by torchlight.

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