Antlers

Director: Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace, Hostiles)

Horror/Mystery

What It's About

A middle-school teacher (Keri Russell) returns to live with her (Sheriff) brother (Jesse Piemons) at their childhood home in Cispus Falls, Oregon. A town that’s been plagued with meth addiction, poverty and crime. Julia (Russell) encounters a child in her class who seems to be suffering from abuse. Julia, struggling with her own demons of the past, hopes she can make a difference in the life of this little boy who’s harboring a dangerous secret at home.

What I Thought

I liked it. I waited a long time for this movie. I thought it grimly mirrored today’s world with its undertones of depression, addictions and hopelessness. I enjoyed seeing Keri Russell in the role of Julia. A woman plagued with trauma who has struggled with her own addictions because of it. 

I found the movie thoughtful. The film is carried by three main characters with a welcome surprise by Graham Greene, who portrays the former sheriff of the town. 

Julia (Russell) notices odd and disturbing drawings by her student, Lucas. She becomes determined to save the boy from what she suspects is abuse at home. It really was a reflection of her trying to heal herself. Julia’s character is emotionally fragile and Russell portrays that effortlessly.

Sheriff Paul Meadows (Jesse Piemons). This character represents the apathy in society. He doesn’t care for being the sheriff, it’s a lousy responsibility when society is breaking down. He treats every situation methodically and emotionlessly. There’s clearly tension between brother and sister, both being victims to abuse growing up, only Paul has buried and compartmentalized his feelings. Piemons is good at playing deadpan and emotionally detached characters.

Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas). A chilling performance for a child. Stepping up to provide for his family makes him do and endure some horrific things. Usually child acting performances aren’t that noteworthy for me, but Thomas was flawless in his performance. You just want to comfort this kid. Excellent casting.

The horror elements were fantastic. It maintained an ominously dark and creepy vibe throughout. Good body horror and effects. 

I did not pause this movie. It flowed well and the storyline was unique and intriguing. It didn't rely on jump scares but rather the story itself.

Final Thoughts

4/5

This was originally developed from a short story called, The Quiet Boy written by Nick Antosca (Channel Zero, Brand New Cherry Flavor). I often find that when a film is adapted from a short story, there can be holes in the story line and underdeveloped characters. I would have liked to have seen more exploration of Paul’s backstory, but other than that, I thought this was a good horror movie. It was relevant to the times and will probably age well.

Watch it, you’ll like it.

Where To Find It

Antlers was released in theaters in October, 2021. Available to rent on Google PlayYouTube, streaming on Amazon PrimeApple TV and Vudu


Photo: IMDB


1 comment


  • George Schmidt

    I knew next to nothing about the film prior except for the main trailer – which is very rare. I thought it was well executed and way above average and worked overall on every thing you mentioned. Great job as always Sam :D


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