By Nick Delvescovo
“Antlers,” which was released on Oct. 15, was directed by Scott Cooper. This film was pretty heavily anticipated because of its credited Guillermo del Toro production. It follows a teacher in a small town in Oregon as she and her brother, the local sheriff, start to uncover rumors about local disappearances and deaths from a mythological deer creature.
“Antlers” is undoubtedly a creature feature. If you are interested in checking out a film for
its deep characters, compelling plot and unique storytelling, this movie may not be for you. While there is an attempt at diving into deeper story ideas like trauma, neglect and family issues, where “Antlers” shines is in its special effects and unique creature.
With a runtime of a bit over an hour-and-a-half, “Antlers” goes by very quickly. The pacing of the film seems off and, at times, and there were moments where I didn’t know where it was going. I was surprised to see how quickly this movie got to its climax. It spends a lot of time trying to develop some aspects of characters, but seems to leave out crucial details and information about other aspects of those characters. There are definitely times where the film seems all over the place. I feel like “Antlers” needed another solid 30 minutes of runtime to truly develop into a fully-realized end product.
This movie tries to explore some themes we may not usually see in a film like this, such as neglect, trauma and past issues with family. I recognize and appreciate the effort to take a horror film in a different direction, I just feel like the execution could have been a lot better. There is a lot that we as the audience are left wondering at the end regarding the characters, and while ambiguity is sometimes effective in movies, in this case it’s not. Either way, seeing the writers and directors try to develop the characters of a horror film is a positive. Hopefully in the future we can see horror films with more fleshed out characters.
Now onto the main reason to watch this movie: the creature. Guillermo del Toro and the special effects team that worked on this film did not disappoint in that aspect. This film is gory, the creature looks amazingly horrifying, and the overall atmosphere is wonderfully executed. “Antlers” takes a “Jaws” approach in how it presents the creature to the audience. We see the perfect amount of the creature. Guillermo del Toro knows how to develop a terrifying monster and it looks like Scott Cooper knows how to present that creature in a way that makes it even more horrifying.
While “Antlers” does lack a bit in its story, it makes up for it in the monster presented to the audience. A movie like this doesn’t need to be some crazy Oscar contender; as long as it serves its purpose of giving us a scary monster with some frightening sequences, the film does its job.
And that it did.