Antlers (2021)

antlers poster 2021 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, good cast

Flubs an interesting story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Antlers

Studio:  Fox Searchlight Pictures/Phantom Four Films/Double Dare You (DDY)

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  October 11, 2021 (Beyond Fest)/October 29, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

antlers kid jeremy t thomas

Creepy Kid…Check!

In the town of Cispus Falls, a boy named Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas) endures bullying as he keeps a deadly secret.  His teacher Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) is also recovering from trauma tied to her abusive past, and notices something in Lucas that reminds her of her childhood.  As she tries to involve the law and her brother Paul (Jesse Plemons) who serves as the town’s sheriff, she realizes that getting Lucas and his missing brother Aiden (Sawyer Jones) to safety might take drastic measures…but Julia doesn’t know the real secret that Lucas is hiding.

Directed by Scott Cooper (who also penned the screenplay with C. Henry Chaisson and Nick Antosca), Antlers is a supernatural monster horror movie.  The film is an adaptation of “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca which was first published in Guernica (January 2019).  The film’s release was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually premiered at the Beyond fest in 2021.  It received mixed to negative reviews.

antlers monster face

When plastic surgery goes bad!

I love a good monster horror movie and was excited to see Antlers since new and original monster movies seem few and far between.  With a great cast and the promise of good cinematography, I had high hopes for the horror movie.  While it didn’t reach these expectations, it also wasn’t horrible.

The movie is based around the myth of the wendigo which is a Native American spirit that curses a man that has tasted human flesh.  Movies like Ravenous explored this myth before (and the Wendigo is a featured Marvel Comics monster as well).  Wendigos are creepy, and the story layered with a story of family trauma attempts to raise the bar of the horror film from typical to artsy…but it falls flat in that sense.  If the movie had gone for a more direct straight horror path, it might have been better and still could have accomplished its goals.

The cast is good and that is part of the disappointment.  While a lot of the movie is carried by the sullen Jeremy T. Thomas (who is pretty good at that role), the film’s stars include Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons.  Both are good in the film, but they aren’t aided by the script.  The movie also has an incredibly under-utilized Graham Greene in the typical “explain the monster” Native American deputy role.

antlers keri russell monster ending

There will be no eating of Felicity!!!

The movie also looks fantastic.  The backset is British Columbia with fantastic looking forests and waterways.  These locations are ripe for horror (depending on how they are used) and the movie does make good use of them with a classy shooting style.  It is teamed with a great creepy monster that doesn’t get enough of an appearance but that is also probably due to budget and technological issues.

Antlers is one of those movies that feels simply “there” because it doesn’t go hard enough at the genre or script to give it a real edge.  This hurts a bit more with this film simply because there is a lot of talent and scenery tied to the movie that feels a bit wasted.  I want Antlers to be better, and I want to have found another great (and new) monster movie…unfortunately, this film isn’t it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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