film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Antlers 2021 * * 1/2 Stars


"All this has got to be an animal, right?" Sure buddy. Whatever you say.

Anyway 2021's Antlers is well, another creature feature. Its creature is a manimal which by definition, is a life form that's part human and part beast. It's like an ordinary dude turned into the alien from Alien, or a male Zelda Goldman, or the world's ugliest reindeer. Was I scared? Sort of. I mean there were those few jolts that made my heart skip.

Antlers is R-rated. It's R-rated in the same way that any horror flick is R-rated. Basically it's gory, ghastly, and gross. Scott Cooper directs and yup, he gets back to the grimy and grubby. What downtrodden Pennsylvania is to Out of the Furnace, Oregon is to Antlers. The ground is damp, the fog settles in, and characters make bad decisions right before they got offed by sharply branched horns.

Taking place in a small town via The Beaver State and filmed three years ago (COVID-19 had a lot to do with that businass), Antlers shows that even little kids perish in supernatural horror fare. The movie is about a frazzled school teacher who tries to uncover the secret behind her sickly-looking student and his mutation-ed father.

Antlers runs 99 minutes, still builds like it's 120, and features a forlorn ending. The film is all about atmospherics and disquiet and less about knotty mystery (that's Scott Cooper for ya). The musical score by Javier Navarrete is tops and the performances are unassuming, wind-sucking, and raw (especially Keri Russell who plays weathered English teacher Julia Meadows).

Bottom line: If you eliminate Russell's presence, the music, and Cooper's ground down mood from Antlers, you'd probably have one of the lesser scary pics out there. But you have those attributes so I'll extend Antlers the proverbial olive "branch". Natch.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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