ANTLERS is a new horror movie in the creature feature subgenre. It’s dark, brutal, and heartbreaking in ways that mean it won’t be for everyone. Also, it does have a slow-burn element to it, but it is never boring. Read our full Antlers movie review here!
ANTLERS is a horror movie that we have been greatly anticipating here at Heaven of Horror. It’s a horror, mystery, thriller to be exact and it is also in the creature feature subgenre. I don’t know what I expected but it turned out to be much more heartbreaking than I could have imagined.
Due to the slow and dark story (that incorporates quite a bit of social realism) it probably won’t be for everyone. However, as a horror fan, this is exactly the kind of thing I need to also enjoy. The young Jeremy T. Thomas is absolutely breathtakingly good in this!
Continue reading our Antlers movie review below.
Brutal and heartbreaking
The words “brutal” and “heartbreaking” were among the very first ones spoken after we had screened Antlers. Even though this horror movie features supernatural elements (the creature feature subgenre) which includes human beings being physically torn apart, for me, the real horror came from elsewhere.
In this movie, we follow the boy Lucas Weaver and his life is pain and sadness. He is essentially on his own and the daily victim of the school bully. While this bully is looming over the small-framed Lucas, the young boy doesn’t just back down. It shows a strength that seems almost impossible to understand.
Sure, Lucas has a home. But that home has no electricity or even any real food. Also, his dad and younger brother aren’t exactly an active part of his everyday day. And that’s all I’ll say about that since I don’t want to give away more than what’s in the trailer.
Lucas Weaver is absolutely brilliantly portrayed by Jeremy T. Thomas. He is like Haley Joel Osment in Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. That’s the kind of heartbreak he makes you feel when you witness his everyday life.
Also in this movie is Keri Russell as the school teacher, Julia Meadows, who cannot ignore what she sees Lucas going through. Jesse Plemons (Black Mirror) plays her brother, Paul, who is the sheriff of this small town. The two siblings have had a very hard life, which spills out in awful detail. But they stick together!
Social realism meets supernatural creatures
The story of Antlers plays out in a small town in Oregon. Mining has been the main business in this town – along with other ways of ravaging Mother Nature. Now, the mines are closed and the inhabitants in this small town are part of the opioid epidemic in the US.
This isn’t the actual plot of Antlers, but it is there in the background all along. You’ll the opioid crisis mentioned in the news on TV or on the radio playing in the background. Most of the people in town seem to either be on prescription drugs or have transitioned to illegal drugs to deal with their addiction.
The price is being paid by the youngest inhabitants of the town since their parents are constantly strung out on drugs of some kind. That’s the all-too-realistic backdrop, which is recognizable for anyone who has been paying attention to the news or some of the many recently produced series on the topic.
OTHER HORROR MOVIES FEATURES SOCIAL REALISM
Antlers really isn’t a horror movie about the opioid epidemic in the US. However, it does enable this supernatural being to get its claws into us humans once again. And the creature is a familiar one since it’s a “wendigo”.
The effects used to show this wendigo aren’t too crude or overused, which means they’re more efficient when it all goes a little crazy towards the end. And I do mean that in a good way. Another key character in Antlers is portrayed by Graham Greene who plays the recently retired sheriff of the town.
Watch Antlers exclusively in theaters!
Antlers is directed by Scott Cooper who got his debut back in 2009 with Crazy Heart. A movie that won two Academy Awards (including Best Actor for Jeff Bridges) and was nominated for an additional one. Antlers is his fifth feature film and he has one more in pre-production. The horror movie The Pale Blue Eye starring Christian Bale.
Scott Cooper also wrote the screenplay with Henry Chaisson (this is his screenwriter debut) and Nick Antosca. The plot is based on the short story “The Quiet Boy” by Antosca. If the name Nick Antosca sounds familiar, it may be because he created series like Brand New Cherry Flavor, The Act, and Channel Zero.
Overall, I really can’t say much bad about Antlers. If anything?! After having had extremely high expectations, we were amazed by the dark and brutal story served with gut-punching heartbreak whenever we saw Lucas in his terrible circumstances.
Despite the fact that Antlers will not be for everyone and people will dislike everything from the slow pace to the bleak surroundings, it gets a big recommendation from us. Just get ready for a movie that is the opposite of a feel-good movie. This is a “feel bad movie” that will hopefully make you appreciate the good in your life!
Antlers opens in US theaters on October 29, 2021.
In Theaters: October 29, 2021
Director: Scott Cooper
Writers: Henry Chaisson, Nick Antosca, Scott Cooper
Cast: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan
A small-town Oregon teacher and her brother, the local sheriff, become entwined with a young student harboring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences.