Pre COVID Antlers seemed poised for great success. With a large marketing budget giving posters and trailers galore, Antlers was hyped to be a great big success for independent horror. Did the long wait for it live up to the hype or does it get stuck in the forest forever to be quickly forgotten?
We follow Julia, a middle school teacher who moves back to her small town in Oregon and soon discovers that she believes one of her students is being abused or in less than stellar conditions. Knowing abuse herself from an abusive upbringing and living in a small town where it seems everyone is sad, down on their luck, and nothing seems to go right, Julia begins to look into what exactly her students home life and personal life is.
From here we see Julia investigate where exactly her students Lucas dad and younger brother both are and why his living conditions seem to be less than livable. This includes bringing in Julias brother Paul, the towns sheriff, as well as others to see whats going on.
This all starts to bring up one of the films most blaring issues, this is all shoved into roughly 90 minutes. With elements about abusive pasts, neglect, and supernatural elements all here we never really get to get into detail about much of it outside a few conversations. The development of characters is trimmed away almost making it feel like the film was cut from a much longer run time to fit into the most compact film they could manage.
It doesn’t help that especially because are characters are almost one dimensional most of the time they just stroll right into the worst situations. Characters walk alone into old houses without calling for help, no one listens or believes anything even when its right in front of them, and characters just show a complete lack of any common sense.
Now the Wendingo however is fantastically done. Its shown just enough and made to look like a creature made of the woods it resides in. Instead of being a giant CGI blob we are given a great practical effect costume that makes it a sight to be seen. Its just a shame though that any real knowledge of why the creature is there though is shaved down to pretty much one scene only.
While it may sound like these issues ruin the film it actually doesn’t. Its still a fantastic misery filled horror film with some great performances in boot. A longer version of this would could of made it an instant classic though given how great everything else around it is.
3.5 / 5
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