Monday 17 January 2022

Antlers (2021)

Based on the story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca, this horror/thriller/drama comes from actor/director Scott Cooper and produced by (amongst others) 
Guillermo del Toro. There are not many silly jump-scare moments but rather a brooding atmospheric tale keeping the viewers wondering what on earth's coming next.

Frank, played by Scott Haze (Old Henry), is running a Meth Lab in an old disused mine in rural Oregon when he's attacked by (what turns out to be) some Native American creature which devours humans and looks for a host body to dwell within whilst it does dastardly deeds! Frank is it's man this time!

Frank has two sons, and he makes them (before he gets totally devoured) lock him in the attic and keep the beast-within away from causing trouble (though I'm not sure how or why the best is constrained by a wooden-walled house)! The younger son gets sucked in eventually and the beast decides to keep him there. So we have 12-year old son now going about his business, going to school and catching animals to feed the pair in the attic with raw meat!

Enter new school teacher coming back to the town after 20 years away, re-joining her brother in the old family home, where certainly she - and maybe both of them - had been abused by their father, now dead. Jessie Plemons plays the local policeman brother and (Mickey Mouse Club girl) Keri Russell, the teacher/sister. The boy is in her class at school and she starts to get concerned about him as he's creating bizarre drawings and is socially withdrawn.

She starts to investigate, heads round to the house, gets even more concerned so reports the matter to her boss. Her boss goes to visit and, ahem, doesn't do too well. I shall leave that to your imagination. So policeman brother and teacher sister start to investigate together and this is the point at which all hell breaks loose and the creature starts to do his thing inside the body of Frank.

There's a big finale as you'd imagine where the beast is confronted, back in the mine, and you can imagine the outcome with the sister/brother team trying to sort out the mess and put an end to the whole pesky affair!

The young Jeremy T Thomas plays the 12-year old boy and does a decent job depicting the behaviour and emotions we'd expect with all this chaos going on around him! Keri Russell likewise does a decent enough job and Jessie Plemons seems to improve each time I see him, often playing the understated, ordinary bloke dealing with extraordinary situations, like in Breaking Bad and Fargo.

It's a decent enough film with enough lurking in terms of the unknown to keep the viewer interested, if not quite on the edge of their seat. It's slow in places, but having said that, the time flew while I was watching and there's plenty to chew on! There's not too much gore and horror, but what there is seems to be done pretty convincingly as it becomes a bit of a thrill-ride towards the end!

Recommended, it's doing the rounds on various streaming services now. Apparently it was shot in 2019 but only just making it out now, presumably because of pandemic-related issues. Worth a viewing.

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