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ANTLERS (2021, USA) Movie Review

Scott Cooper previously introduced himself as a representative of typical realism by making films such as “Crazy Heart”, “Out of Furnace”, “Black Mass” and “Hostile”, but with a full fifty on his back and he is decided to step into the horror of water. He did so under the supervision of Guillermo Del Toro, who is the producer of a film based on a short story by Nick Antosca (also one of the screenwriters), and in “Antlers” it seems to overlap with topics previously covered by Cooper and Del Toro. It is a dark film in which the main characters are people from social margins (cooperism) whose lives are already full of misfortune, pain and suffering, and all that darkness will be further intensified by horror elements (deltorism), supernatural evil that will befall them.

ANTLERS movie plot, review

The action takes place in an economically devastated town in the interior of Oregon, an area where once there was obviously a strong industry, and now in the surrounding forests, mines, abandoned steel mills sprout caravans where crystal meth is cooked. Teacher Julia (Keri Russell) has returned to the place where she grew up, where she still has severe childhood traumas and abuse that her late father inflicted on her today. Her brother Paul (Jesse Plemons) is a local cop, a silent guy with also repressed trauma, but their trauma acts like a complete zero for a withdrawn, stunted, quiet kid who goes to Julia’s class, Lucas. After his mother died, he was left alone with his father and younger brother, and given Lucas’s withdrawal, physical backwardness for the rest of the class and evident malnutrition, but also thanks to the disturbing drawings he draws, Julia will suspect that some bad old man.

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This time we viewers have an advantage over the teacher because we already know from the introductory scene of the film that something very bad happened there. In that scene, Lucas ’father and his fellow meth chef are attacked by something in an abandoned mine, and since then he and Lucas’ younger brother have been locked in a room in their house and seem to have been attacked by some standard horror monster like werewolf or vampire. But the situation is even worse because someone apparently woke up an ancient Indian demon who settled in Lucas’ father as a parasite. Very soon the whole environment will turn into a real slaughterhouse, and Julia seems to be the first to realize that a series of unimaginable murders could be linked to her student. Fine “Antlers” balances between a classic thriller and horror and visually it is an extremely high quality film in which an equal level of horror and suspense is achieved, but also monster elements.

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ANTLERS | Final Trailer [HD] | Searchlight Pictures