Dir. Scott Cooper
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons) become embroiled with her enigmatic student, Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas) whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with an ancestral creature.
With a superbly rounded cast and Plemon's first foray into horror (the same year he was OSCAR nominated for his supporting role in POWER OF THE DOG) there is no denying that ANTLERS is an attention grabber. Russell brings the troubled parent role she so nailed in DARK SKIES as she becomes a mother figure to the troubled Lucas who may or may not begin to form a connection with a monster buried within the mine shafts surrounding him.
There's a lot of isolation piped into Scott Cooper's film and this is held most deeply with the orphaned lead. The monster at the forefront of the horror is brilliantly designed if a little over CGI'd and touches on the mythology of native America rarely seen on film. Interestingly, the design came from horror maestro Guillermo del Toro and it's chaotic romanticism between beast and symbolism comes to a heartfelt conclusion that gives ANTLERS more grounding than just being a creature feature.
The biggest issue with ANTLERS is that despite some star turns and a new monster, it's pretty run of the mill and predictable. Jeremy T. Thomas is a credit to youth actors and carries the trauma well and while Plemons and Russell don't have much to add to proceedings, they certainly help cement a studio budget horror that tells an interesting, if unoriginal, story of isolation and monsters.