Antlers (2021)
February 12, 2022 11:40 AM - Subscribe

In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons) become embroiled with an enigmatic student whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with a legendary ancestral creature who came before them. Produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart). Based on a short story by Nick Antosca (Brand New Cherry Flavor). Also starring: Graham Greene, Rory Cochrane, and Amy Madigan. Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max. 59% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went ahead and read the short story it was based on, and honestly I liked the short story much much better. This felt like a filler version of a tight terrifying little tale. (Also, I kinda like downer endings and the story delivered.)
posted by Kitteh at 1:47 PM on February 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

I remember this getting a good bit of hype when it came out, but apart from some impressive monster effects and body horror it didn't do much for me. There were some good themes in there about familial trauma and poverty, but it seemed like the movie never managed to say anything about them. I thought the acting and direction were good, though, and I think people who go into it looking for a creature feature rather than something deeper won't be too disappointed.
posted by whir at 10:59 PM on February 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

Wanted to see this in the theater, missed it, and instantly clicked "play" when I saw it on HBO Max last night. Really enjoyed it, and thinking about it. Went out looking for reviews afterward and was unsurprised to see multiple "many and muddled themes" reviews. Definitely aiming for the current vibe of "elevated" horror, but didn't go quite hard enough on any of them.

whir, I thought this was (in its way) small and quiet, and that what we saw on screen was good, just not enough. Midsommar and The Babadook each chose and went all-in on a theme and showed you the ravaging of their various horrors. As a friend wrote elsewhere, it was like Antlers skipped a stone across a lake and got a quick hit of many things.

Lots of commentary out there about the indigenous nature of the film. I found this interview with Cooper interesting, particularly talking about his strategy for trying to do an indigenous horror movie "right." If you enjoy thinking about films that maybe-do, maybe-don't succeed in that arena, check out Hold the Dark, which got some things spot on, and others... maybe less so.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:20 PM on February 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

So - the trailer I had seen previously made it seem very psychological, very mythic, very mysterious. When I watched it the other day - it was a straightforward monster-type movie.

However - I will say, it has the best on-screen depiction of a Wendigo (and the surrounding horror) that I have ever seen - pretty much matches my childhood nightmares when I first read about the legends.
posted by rozcakj at 7:17 AM on February 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm with y'all: this looks great, the acting is good, the directing is good, the monster effects are terrific, but the story doesn't hang together in the way it should.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:47 PM on February 17, 2022

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