Described as a supernatural horror, “Antlers” breathes fresh air into the genre by exploring a wonderfully original concept and asking the question, what is real and what is myth?
Directed by Scott Cooper (“Hostiles”), the film follows Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas, “Paradise Lost”), who finds himself among the Wendigo, a nightmarish creature straight out of Native American stories. The story also follows teacher Julia Meadows (Keri Russell, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”) and Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons, “Jungle Cruise”), her brother, who is the new sheriff of the city of London. ‘Oregon in which the film takes place.
One of the film’s many redeeming qualities is its pace. Nowhere at any point in the film did the scenes feel rushed or the plot points felt overwhelmed. The movie also deserves credit for the way it hid the creature that was the main source of trouble for the entire movie. In a time of reboots plaguing the horror genre, audiences know who the villain will be before they hit theaters. “Antlers” does a phenomenal job leaving it to the imagination. Allowing the dark recesses of viewers’ minds to create their own image of the creature makes the film much more tense and gripping.
While waiting for so long to reveal the creature, in this case the legendary Wendigo, it was important that the film succeeded with its use of CGI (computer generated images) and practical effects. “Antlers” did more than deliver on this front. While it takes a long time before audiences see the Wendigo for the first time in the film, the reveal is well worth the wait. The CGI used to create the Wendigo is arguably flawless and provides a breathtaking spectacle for the audience. This movie is worth watching for that reason alone.
“Antlers” also deserves applause for tapping into real life to find inspiration for this film. The Wendigo is a haunting legend that exists among several Native American tribes. The story goes that if a man is driven to cannibalism, he becomes eternally hungry, eating any man, woman or child that crosses his path. However, the Wendigo also has the ability, instead of devouring a person, choosing to own them and, in turn, making them into a Wendigo as well. The movie uses this very real and terrifying legend that many tribes really believe in to create a spooky experience for audiences.
The acting in the film is brilliant as Thomas, Russell and Plemons are a likeable and captivating trio that audiences can hang on to. The overall cast is small, but that doesn’t hamper the movie in any way. If anything, that makes it all the better that audiences really get to know, care for, and understand the characters and the relationships between each of them.
One aspect of the film that might require some work is the dialogue. For the majority of the film, there isn’t much to complain about, but in some scenes the words felt too much on the nose and more like the lines were meant to steer the story in a certain direction instead of let it flow by itself. . This is only a minor issue with the film as a good majority of the dialogue is very good and presented with raw emotion from a really talented cast.
Despite the Halloween holidays coming and going, “Antlers” is a horror film for any time of the year. Its genius play, beautiful artistic design, and original concept make the film a must-have for horror fans, as well as those who are just looking for a truly suspenseful film that will make them shiver.
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