Given that it's ~spooky~ season, I feel it's my duty to inform you that there's a new, VERY dark, horror film coming out called Antlers, and it hits theaters tomorrow, Oct. 29.
And you should know the movie features one of the scariest/most messed up–looking creatures I've seen in a movie in a long time. (More on that in a minute.)
🦌 Fair warning: mild spoilers ahead! 🦌
So, the story of Antlers centers on the myth of a creature called a Wendigo, which originates from Native American lore, and the impact — by "impact," I mean the violent interactions — it has on two families in a small town in rural Oregon.
Thomas plays a young boy named Lucas who is very troubled. As the story unfolds, we learn that he's "troubled" because his father and brother have somehow been infected by the Wendigo and are now bloodthirsty half-human, half-creatures themselves. Also, Lucas's mother died some years ago, so his little brother and dad are all he has. Basically, the poor kid has A LOT on his plate.
Meanwhile, Russell plays his teacher, Julia, who has returned to this small town after spending most of her life away in California. Long story short, she left home around the age of 12 because her father (who's now dead) was a very creepy and abusive piece of shit.
Julia, however, still has a strong relationship with her brother, Paul, who's now the town sheriff and just a generally nice guy. So, she's crashing at his place/their former childhood home for now. For the record, both Plemons and Russell are REALLY GOOD in the movie and carry the weight of their roles with complete ease. So, kudos to them.
Anyway, being the concerned/good teacher she is, Julia worries about Lucas and takes a particular interest when he tells a creepy story about a big bear, little bear, and baby bear — accompanied by some very-not-chill drawings. The school nurse discovers scars on his body, and the principal also notes that Lucas's younger brother, Aidan, hasn't been in school. Basically: 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩.
We also learn that the town has a problem with people making meth in the abandoned mines — and some of those people include Lucas's dad. Yeah, there's a lot of dark and depressing shit happening in this town.
It's not long before random half-eaten bodies begin to show up in the woods, which sends Paul on a mission to figure out WTF is going on. And when I tell you the bodies he finds are grotesque...well, if you don't like to look at mangled bodies (even if they are fake), you are going to HATE those scenes. It's a lot.
Paul and Julia do some classic investigative work, and they learn about the Wendigo from ex-sheriff Warren Stokes — played by legendary Academy Award–nominated actor Graham Greene. Stokes tells the siblings about the Wendigo and how it is a "diabolical wickedness that devours mankind." Julia believes it all, Paul, not so much.
Now, I'm not going to spoil the ending of the film for you, BUT I will say that when we finally get a good look at the Wendigo...it is HORRIFYING. Truly one of the scariest creatures I've seen in a movie in a long time.
As violent and gory as it is, though, the way the Wendigo ~comes to life~ is kinda cool. Like, I got some serious Alien vibes and, as someone who's into horror movies, I low-key loved it.
Antlers is absolutely not going to be for everybody. It's dark, depressing, scary...and, honestly, it's not a perfect story — a lot of Julia and Paul's backstory felt forced and incomplete, and the lore of the Wendigo didn't quite come together with the main storyline for me.
But Antlers is an interesting concept (one I probably would've liked to have seen explored even more from a First Nations perspective), and the movie is beautifully shot, but, for my money, it's all about the creature itself. That thing is permanently burned into my memory, and for horror films, that's a win.
Antlers opens in theaters only on Oct. 29! And if you wanna see more, check out the trailer here:
Looking for more unique things to watch? Check out some of my other recent release recommendations:
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