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ANTLERS a Gruesome Tale of Horror

 

 

 

Review By John Delia

A very good effort production wise, but the film Antlers helmed by Scott Cooper gets predictable in his gruesome tale of Mysterious Indigenous folklore. Most of the horror here is the transformations that the characters go through and for that the film is well played out. And his special effects make-up is as good as the characters of Gollum and Lurtz in Lord of the Rings, to give examples, and that’s a good thing for fans. But once you see the images, you’ll see they blend well into the storyline. The audience will be treated to some unexpected jump scares and the CGI of the gory violence should keep the target audience on the edge of their seats.

I do like Antlers for the reflections on today’s economic and social decay references that are in the forefront and we are all facing. Scenes of bullying, negative social references and the freewheeling of drugs are all evident, and necessary to the plot. Handled very nicely, it’s this subliminal insertion as an additional reason that the film worth watching.

Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas and Keri Russell in ANTLERS . Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

By a stroke of bad luck Frank Weaver (Scott Haze), his youngest son and his cohort get attacked in an old mine where they have a Meth Lab. Escaping the bloody confrontation by an unknown creature, Weaver returns to his home and moves into the attic. His older of his two sons, Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas), attends to his dad and brother feeding them as they lay in hiding from the public. In school Lucas’s teacher, Julia Meadows (Keri Russell), notices a change in the boy, especially in his drawings of monsters.

When Lucas’s father starts to change dramatically, Lucas doubles the locks on the doors to the attic. Director Scott Cooper moves his film along at a nice pace developing his characters and showing how the town has been decaying due to lack of work in the coal mines, stores hurting from lack of business and drugs being prevalent with easy access. And even law enforcement has been affected well, especially Sheriff Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons). Cooper shows a dark shroud coming over the town and it caused a dank feeling while watching the visual experience.

Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) searches a coal mine for a monster in ANTLERS . Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The acting by the whole cast is very good. I especially like Jeremy T. Thomas as the young boy who has been caught up in an ugly situation. He shows Lucas as a vulnerable child who gets bullied by his peers, but he’s a fighter and doesn’t back down from their name calling. But, Lucas has other problems on his mind and in an attempt to solve them, he puts himself in mortal danger. It’s a demanding role for the youngster, but he handles it as if it weren’t his first time in a lead performance.

Director Scott Cooper with Producer Guillermo del Toro on the set of ANTLERS. Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Antlers has been rated R by the MPAA for violence including gruesome images, and for language. The grisly scenes are so realistic that it should give shivers to even the most diehard horror fan. Cooper makes good use of his CGI team as we get glimpses of the changes in the monsters being created in the father, his youngest child, and the indigenous mythical beast. (3 out of 5)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane. Amy Madigan
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
MPAA Rating: R for violence including gruesome images, and for language
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Opening Date: October 29, 2021
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight
Released in: Theaters

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