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antlers

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‘Antlers’ review: Best Wendigo story ever?

Creature feature with a story to tell-sometimes.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Movies Podcast!

Antlers is a character and story driven horror story based on an old myth. This is somewhat surprising considering the actual lore is given little more than lip service over the course of the film. The plot follows a young boy named Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas) who seems to have a troubled home life. He does, but not in the way anyone expects. 

Things move at a patient pace, allowing audiences to get to know the downtrodden Oregon town and its inhabitants. Antlers does not take a deep dive into all of its characters, but it also does not have to. What it reveals is perfect for the story being told. It is interesting storytelling that may seem sparse, but manages to explain much. 

Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) is a great example of this. Antlers touches on her past without giving specific details. It is clear that had a traumatic childhood that has scarred her for life. Her childhood is why she is worried so much about Lucas and explains certain decisions she makes. Her brother Paul (Jesse Plemons) seems to also have had a traumatic childhood. This is conveyed excellently with one chilling sentence.

This lack of hand holding is one of the movie’s strongest points. The narrative is constantly dropping breadcrumbs. Each allows viewers to try to figure out exactly what is happening while gently nudging them in the correct direction. There is not much mystery, but what intrigue is found adds to Antlers. This will also attract horror fans since it is in these moments it most resembles other genre films. 

On the flip side, the film gives little information regarding the actual mythology of the creature. This is especially surprising since the world building is so well done. Everyone seems downtrodden and resigned to their lot in life. This includes the town itself that does not even hint at former glory. Aside from one exposition dump and a couple of brief allusions to legends, there is no mention of what the monster really is. The end result, is a well told creature feature without any backstory.

Antlers premieres in theaters October 29

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