The Movie Waffler First Look Review - THE ANTENNA | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - THE ANTENNA

the antenna review
The installation of a satellite dish has sinister consequences for the residents of a tower block.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Orçun Behram

Starring: Ihsan Önal, Gül Arici, Levent Ünsal, Isil Zeynep, Murat Saglam, Elif Çakman, Mert Toprak Yadigar, Eda Öze

the antenna poster

In the '70s and '80s, the Turkish film industry gained notoriety with a series of knockoffs of popular Hollywood titles, often blatantly infringing on copyright by stealing footage and rehashing soundtracks. This period gave us movies that came to be known in the west as "Turkish Star Wars", "Turkish Wizard of Oz", "Turkish Star Trek" et al. Turkish writer/director Orçun Behram's feature debut The Antenna is by no means so brazen, but the movie is so derivative of David Cronenberg and JG Ballard that it might become known as "Turkish Shivers" or "Turkish High Rise".

the antenna review

Like the aforementioned works of Cronenberg and Ballard, The Antenna takes place in a high rise tower block whose residents succumb to a sinister force. Set in what appears to be a dystopian version of 1980s Turkey, The Antenna revolves around Mehmet (Ihsan Önal), the super-intendent of an eyesore tower block isolated in what appears to be the windiest region of Turkey. In preparation for the debut of a new broadcasting system, set to kick off with a special bulletin at midnight, a satellite dish is installed on the roof of the building. During said installation, the engineer falls to his death, setting off an ominous chain of events in the build up to the government's broadcast.

the antenna review

I've always had a fondness for horror movies set within residential complexes. Along with Cronenberg's Shivers, some personal faves are Paul Bartel's Private Parts, Lamberto Bava's Demons 2 and Tobe Hooper's The Toolbox Murders. Like thrillers set on trains and cruise ships, such movies afford their creators the opportunity to assemble a roster of distinctively oddball characters. The Antenna has plenty of characters, but none of them stand out. In fact, so generic are they that I confused two bald-headed men for one another throughout most of the running time. The only characters with any distinction are Mehmet, who cottons on that something sinister is afoot when he finds a black oily substance emanating through plug sockets and bathroom tiles; and teenager Yasemin (Gül Arici), who expresses her desire to escape the oppressive confines of the tower block. We're left to dispassionately look on as characters perish whom we never cared for in the first place, and even when Mehmet and Yasemin find themselves in danger we couldn't really care less, so one-note are the pair.

the antenna review

Along with Shivers and High Rise, The Antenna borrows its "special broadcast" conceit from Halloween III, but it's sorely missing that movie's wickedly satirical elements (not to mention the charismatic presence of Tom Atkins). The Antenna broadcasts its own crude message of how we should be wary of media, but it does so through a stultifyingly dull narrative that doesn't really hold up to any scrutiny - if the midnight broadcast is supposed to kick things off, why are so many of the residents killed off by the black ooze before that point?

The Antenna is in US virtual cinemas from October 2nd and VOD from October 20th. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

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