Delayed twice between its originals release date in April 2020 and its October 11th 2021 theatrical debut, Antlers kept me wanting more… if more was just to have the chance to see the damn thing. For over a year I asked myself, “Why hasn’t that movie come out yet?” and after had me asking,”All that waiting, for this?”
Far from the 10-point-suck joke I wish I could make, Antlers is only pretty good. Atmospheric and well shot with a terrific lead performance by Jeremy T. Thomas’ who is the perfect blend of creepy and pathetic that makes you want to scoop him up and get to safety fast. Antlers tells the story of Lucas, a child whose father and brother are slowly turning into monsters in his attic. Lucas tries his best to continue going to school while caring for the two vicious creatures who were very recently his only family but the strain becomes too much for him when the staff at his school begin taking notice of his odd behavior. Specifically Keri Russell’s character Julia who drags her brother Paul, played by Jesse Plemons, into the situation because… well he’s in law enforcement and welfare checks are kind of his job. No spoilers beyond this point, but all the performances those three put on screen are worth watching even if the story and suspension of disbelief waned towards the middle.
Antlers coasts on its stylish cinematography and special effects, but is ultimately undercut by the built-in hype of a delayed release. I doubt I would’ve been this disappointed if it had released in April 2020, but the effort necessary to sporadically remind myself that it still hadn’t released put it in unwelcome company with another movie with a case of delayed gratification, The New Mutants.
I know this review isn’t glowing but if you want to watch a horror movie you haven’t seen before you should give this one a shot. Antlers is a nice middle of the road horror movie that reminds you how much worse most horror is. It’s like when the freshness of a Listerine strip reminds you how bad your mouth tastes 99% of the time.