The allegedly cursed supernatural found footage film, Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made, recently released for viewers that want to tempt fate. It contains over a hundred sigils and countless references to demonic entities, dieties, and spiritual practices. The most captivating aspect of the film are the five layers that siblings Oralee and Nathan go through as they dig deeper towards the pit of hell.
In Antrum, the two siblings venture to the forest to free their dog Maxine from hell. The location is known for keeping evil demons from escaping and the exact spot where the devil landed when he was banished from heaven. It is where the devil placed the gates to hell and, in order to get to its core, the characters must go through the layers that separate them from it.
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Their exploration in the supernatural forest resembles one that 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote about in his The Divine Comedy, better known as Inferno. Which brings up the question: are Oralee and Nathan going through the layers of hell depicted in Dante’s Inferno? Here are all of the clues that the two are in the hell described by the poet nearly 700 years ago.
The First Layer: Nefastus
As the begin to dig, “The First Layer: Nefastus” appears on the screen. The term “nefastus” translated from Latin means irreligious, wicked, or profane. By opening up the first level of hell, they have committed a wicked act that goes against sacred rites. In the Inferno, the first layer is inhabited by virtuous people who are not religious or unbaptized. They are punished for all eternity in this level that represents the inferior form of Heaven.
While in the first layer, Oralee and Nathan witness a man come to the forest to commit suicide, which is considered to be an immoral practice in some religions that would deny an individual entry to heaven. Furthermore, it reflects violence which is the seventh circle. Knowing that hell has opened, Nathan begins to pray periodically to protect them from everything that is now escaping hell. Before entering the second layer, they hear Cerberus, the three-headed canine that guards the gates, begin to wake up. This creature exists in Dante’s Inferno but it guards the third gate and Oralee tells Nathan that it guards the fifth gate. Regardless, Cerberus protects one of the gates that keeps devils in and humans out.
The Second Layer: Malificus
Shortly after waking up the next morning, Nathan announces that they are in the second layer. This layer is called “malificus” which translates to harmful and of black magic origins. He is aware that they have entered the second layer because he has been scratched by an unknown force. As he continues to speak on his injury, the wind blows harder. The second layer does not last long, and they swiftly jump to the third layer.
Dante describes the second layer of hell as pertaining to lust. While it is not present in Antrum, what happens to Dante is similar to what happens to Nathan and Oralee. As they become immersed in the second layer, winds pick up at high speeds just as they do in the Inferno. They are shown in immense distress due to the winds and it makes them unable to find peace within their situation.
The Third Layer: Demonium
The third layer is described as “demonium” in the film. It is the root word of pandemonium and means demons or hell. Oralee and Nathan search for the body of their dog Maxine in the woods and find her in a dilapidated building inhabited by two men who worship Baphomet. There is a sculpture of the deity at their campsite as a fire pit. The stomach of Baphomet is used to trap anything the two men desire inside of it.
Gluttony is the core of Dante’s third level. When Nathan and Oralee witness the statue shake and hear screams from the inside, they run before they can be found. Arriving back at their own campgrounds, Nathan continues to dig but the terror begins to amplify as the two mysterious men start to hunt them. To escape, the siblings get on a small boat to cross the river. Nathan sees bodies in the water, which means that the two are crossing The River Styx. It exists in the fifth circle of Dante’s Inferno where those who are punished are forever stuck in a toxic black liquid that makes up the river.
The Fourth Layer: Incarnatus Dest Metus
Before they enter the fourth layer, Oralee and Nathan discover that Cerberus broke free from his chains. By the time they are introduced to their new level described as “incarnatus dest metus” or, roughly translated, man-made torment, fear, and anxiety, they are captured by the mysterious men from earlier. The Baphomet worshipers cage the two of them before throwing Nathan into the deity’s belly to burn to death, but Oralee saves Nathan and kills the men. While the fourth layer in Antrum does not resemble Dante’s, it does appear to be derived from the seventh layer which is violence. This scene is the most violent in the film as it portrays absolute depravity and a lack of concern for others.
The Fifth Layer: Abyssus
The fifth and final layer in Antrum is called “abyssus.” It means bowels of the earth, hell, or infernal pit. In titling the fifth layer as such, the film is recognizing that the two characters are reaching the core of hell. Nathan returns to the campsite without his sister. He cries alone while covered in soot. In the distance, he hears a dog whine for him and sees Cerberus’s chains move. The film seems to end here, but the credits are interrupted by Oralee looking for Nathan.
The sister begins to hear voices and growls coming from the forest. She is surrounded by the demons from hell which she and Nathan have set free. Oralee desperately tries to fill the hole to trap what they brought out. It is no use, so she seeks shelter in the tent. The film officially ends with Oralee pointing a gun towards the entrance of the tent, and Nathan approaching it. The audience does not know what happens next. The two siblings’s trip through the layers of hell only lasted for five levels, but they are actually condensed from the original nine depicted in Dante’s Inferno.
While Antrum is not an outright adaptation of the poems of Dante, it undoubtedly takes influence from each of the levels explored by the poet. As Oralee and Nathan venture deeper into the ground, the more apparent it becomes that they are traveling through a consolidated version of the Inferno Dante experienced.
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