Antlers is set in a rural town in the pacific northwest, which lends itself to the atmosphere beautifully. The constant rainfall and fog gives the film a grey, dreary look during the day, and a hazy, murky one at night, highlighting the fear and dread brought by the arrival of the film’s titular creature, the wendigo. As the wendigo begins to claim his victims, the movie is unafraid to show off impressive practical and digital effects, which will be appealing to the more horror-savvy. However, the emotional core of the film is flat and lifeless, as a vague plot thread about trauma, abuse, and alcoholism resonates dimly throughout the runtime. This fact is not helped by the uninspired performances by Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons; both leads seem to be sleepwalking through the script. On the other hand, child actor Jeremy T. Thomas does an outstanding job with his material, filling out the character of Lucas, the troubled child who discovers the wendigo, excellently, bringing fear and love to his role as a child torn between his family and the legendary creature who is possessing them.
Despite its central and glaring issues, Antlers still managed to impress at times and chill at others, resulting in a new, interesting creature feature with an outstanding atmosphere and great special effects. The issues, while bothersome, don’t ruin the good aspects. Director Scott Cooper and his team of VFX artists did an excellent job creating this mythical creature and the environment it inhabits. Unfortunately, the characters residing there too just fall flat.
Score: ★★★ / ★★★★★