From the visionary world of acclaimed director Scott Cooper (CRAZY HEART, HOSTILES) and horror maestro Guillermo del Toro (THE SHAPE OF WATER) comes ANTLERS. In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons) become embroiled with her enigmatic student (Jeremy T. Thomas) whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with a legendary ancestral creature who came before them. Based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca, screenplay by C. Henry Chaisson & Nick Antosca and Scott Cooper. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, David S. Goyer, and J. Miles Dale.
What We Thought:
I really dug Antlers. The script is a bit of a hot mess, but it has a great backdrop, a fantastic creature and a super creepy kid and sometimes that’s all you need in a thinking man’s horror flick. If you liked films like Hereditary or Midsommar, you should like it as well.
The Pacific Northwest is the perfect location for the movie. It’s a small town in Oregon that once had a booming mining industry. Now the town is hooked on drugs because there’s no more work. It opens with two men in an abandoned mine cooking up some drugs and accidentally releasing a creature. Then we are introduced to Lucas, a middle-school student who looks very small for his age and is bullied at school. His mother is gone, his younger brother doesn’t go to school and his father is like many of the townsfolk, not a good person. Keri Russell plays his schoolteacher. She grew up in the town, but left years back and is just now returning. She lives with her brother played by Jesse Plemons who is the town’s sheriff.
Russell’s Julia is keeping an eye on Lucas. He tells a creepy story in class and draws some pretty graphic pictures. She brings the drawings to the principal who doesn’t seem all that interested at first. Jeremy T. Thomas plays Lucas and he is absolutely incredible in the role. He’s creepy which you 100% want in a horror film. He seems so much smaller than everyone else and he’s a loner capturing and killing animals. He’s not a sociopath, he has a secret and those animals are food for his secret.
The movie dives into Native American mythology to explain the boy’s secret and the creature. Again with the setting of the Pacific Northwest, the Native mythology really works to explain what’s happening. Once we get the explanation it takes a sharp turn and once the film goes off the rails, it becomes a solid thriller. Bodies start piling up and you get a few good scares. One kill did catch me off guard and I might have jumped a bit. Russell and Plemons are great and the young boy holds his own with his adult cast members. The creature is highlighted extremely well at this point and I loved its look and sounds.
Antlers won’t be for everyone. The crowd that prefers cheap jumpscares and paranormal horror probably won’t like it. It’s a well crafted horror film with a lot of talent involved. Director Scott Cooper is known for different types of films, but Antlers is still a good movie and something I can see myself owning on home video and rewatching again.
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Screenplay by: Screenplay by C. Henry Chaisson & Nick Antosca and Scott Cooper, based upon the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca
Produced by: Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a., David S. Goyer, p.g.a., J. Miles Dale, p.g.a.
Cast: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan
Run Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Rating: R for violence including gruesome images and for language