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Antlers (2021)

Antlers poster

Pray it desires not you.

Scott Copper’s horror drama hit all the right spots for me, crafting an affecting tale of troubled youth & monster myths.

It’s a fairly low key, moody film with strong performances, especially young Jeremy Thomas as Lucas the boy whose father has been possessed by the Wendigo & needs to be fed while it completes its transformation.

Keri Russell & Jesse Plemons anchor the film as strained siblings in a rugged Oregon town. Russell’s teacher Julia tries to help the withdrawn Lucas, who carries the weight of the world on his frail shoulders, while Plemons sheriff Paul is dealing with the discovery of mangled half eaten corpses in the woods.

The film has many of the tropes of this kind of tale such as the disturbing drawings of bloodied monsters, but wisely focuses its lens on Lucas and his torment, whereby he is forced to care for his monstrous father & younger brother.

Russell & Plemons' characters also have a dark backstory with Julia’s choice to leave home years before creating a palpable tension between the siblings.

When the film eventually unleashes the horned beast, we are fully invested in Lucas’s plight, being torn between his family & Julia who has been caring for him.

The mine set finale is more tragic than triumphant & features a nice mix of practical & CG creature FX. Though I would like to have seen the film dig into the Native American mythology more & give Graham Greene’s ex-sheriff some more screen time, this slowburn horror was one of the highlights of last year.

4 shredded torsos out of 5

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