When is a surprise twist no surprise at all? When the movie starts to make no sense without that inevitability, that’s when.
“Antidote” opens with an unexplained hanging and leaps straight into a woman (Ashlynne Yennie) rising from her bed complaining of intense stomach pain. Her husband (Yorgos Karamihos) and daughter rush her to the hospital, “appendicitis” is diagnosed, her family insists “we’ll wait” through the surgery and then…Sharyn wakes up.
She’s in a featureless room with dim lighting and no windows. There’s an IV drip. And her hands? They’re cuffed to the bed.
An evasive doctor (Louis Mandylor) answers no questions and recommends pills “to help you with your anxiety.”
“Where am I? Where is my family? Why was I restrained?”
Adding F-bombs to her growing outrage and panic, she makes the lawsuit threat. To which Dr. Hellenbach (HAH!) says those words that no movie hostage ever wants to hear.
“No one will come looking for you, Sharyn.”
There are other patients, glimpses of the horrors they’re being subjected to. She and we hear screams and in the limited view she gets of the place, Sharyn sees blood.
But whatever else happens to all concerned, nobody leaves.
The acting doesn’t generate much in the way of fear, and even less pathos.
Our tale tumbles into discovering the other patients, hearing tidbits from their backstories, flashbacks to Sharyn’s past, her life before her husband, her connection to the hanging victim in the opening scene.
Being predictable about your story’s destination isn’t a cardinal sin, but there’s no “Antidote” for the dull waypoints this one marches us past along the way. It never quite achieves “terrible,” but it’s never more than terribly dull.
Cast: Ashlynne Yennie, Louis Mandylor, Ajugie Duke, Yorgos Karamihos, Ravi Daidu and Scott Alin.
Credits: Directed by Peter Daskaloff, scripted by Peter Daskaloff, Matthew Toronto. An Uncork’d release.
Running time: 1:28