Antlers is a horror film that came out on Halloween weekend after being delay for who knows how long because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is finally out and playing in theaters.
Young Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas) had a lot of trauma in his life. His father (Scott Haze) was attacked by something in the mines in town and became sick. He became so bad that he locked himself in a room at their house with strict instructions that Lucas and Lucas’s brother Aiden (Sawyer Jones) not open up no matter what. When Aiden began to show signs of the “sickness” as well, he joined what was left of the father in the room.
This left Lucas to take care of them, hunting animals and keeping a look out for dead carcasses. The anguish facing Lucas began to show at school as he was drawing pictures of the horrors happening to his father and his family as they slowly transformed into a monster.
Lucas’s teacher, Julia Meadows (Keri Russell), started noticing the red flags in Lucas’s behavior and started to investigate what was happening. As a survivor of abuse as a child, Julia was empathic towards Lucas. Julia, who just recently moved back to the town, was staying with her brother, Sheriff Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons). The siblings had their own history to deal with as when Julia left the abusive home, she left Paul behind and he had been waiting for her to return.
At first, I was having some problems with Antlers. The biggest issue was that characters were doing things that were stupid and that they were doing only because the plot needed them to do it. They were doing things that made no sense and that was a major issue for me. For example, the principal went to try and talk to Lucas’s father at his house. A home visit would not be uncommon in this circumstance, but she went alone and that would never happen. If she did not have another school staff member accompany her, she would certainly contact the sheriff. She needed to be there alone because that is what the plot needed and that is never a good reason for a character to do something.
Another example that bothered me was that when Sheriff Paul showed up and saw one of his deputies down on the ground, he proceeded to move forward and check on him. He did not call for assistance. “Officer Down” should be the first thing he had done. Things like this pull me out of a movie and make we question the competency of the characters.
However, despite these missteps plot wise, I found myself invested in the film more than I thought I would. One of the major reasons was the performance of Jeremy T. Thomas. He did a magnificent job conveying fear, anger, frustration, desperation over what was happening to him and his father.
The creature too, which was SPOILERS a Wendigo END OF SPOILERS looked great and the film did a very solid job of keeping the creature under cover for most of the film, saving any major reveal for the third act. The film’s tone was perfect too as the setting was always cloudy, rainy and overcast. No sign of the sun, which was in correlation with Lucas’s life.
I was very surprised how much I was into the film considering some of the things that bothered me during it. Our theater lost power in the third act and it was something that I was not happy about. I can think of some films that I would have considered it a blessing. When the film finally resumed, I was engaged in what the story was and how the characters had to face the trials placed before them. Antlers was worth the wait.