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John’s Horror Corner: Antlers (2021), this wendigo movie is not the creature feature I’d hoped for, but it still has some redeeming qualities.

March 1, 2022

MY CALL:  This was a big mixed bag for me. The child actor, atmosphere, corpse gore effects and some aspects of the monster were truly outstanding. However, the overall impact of the monster, its story and the lackluster ending left much to be desired. Watch it. The film deserves an audience for its strengths.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Antlers: Well, for another wendigo movie I’ll recommend The Last Winter (2006). Truth be told, The Ritual (2017) is the “non-Wendigo” Wendigo movie you really want.

Director Scott Cooper (Hostiles, Black Mass) strolls into the horror genre for the first time with a practiced hand employing dire, ominous atmosphere. Unfortunately how he handles a legendary and terrifying monster leaves much to be desired. Still, he has his moments.

Dealing with deep personal trauma of her own, schoolteacher Julia (Keri Russell; Dark Skies) sets aside her problems to try to help her student Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas), an obviously troubled child from a very broken home. He is quiet, gaunt, joyless, and draws horrifying images at school. After something strange happened to his father, Lucas has had to tend to his father’s unusual needs.

I’m at a loss in my efforts to describe this film. We sort of know exactly what’s going on and where we’re going… without really understanding how we’re going to get there. The characters cope with loss, abuse, guilt, trauma and fear as we witness more people becoming woefully involved in a deadly situation including the local Sheriff (Jesse Plemons; Battleship), Julia’s brother who thinks she should mind her own business.

This monster movie really oscillates in ‘monster satisfaction’ for viewers. Normally, the monster is the best part of a creature feature, if not contrastingly poorly done and then the worst part. Our monster is cool in concept but weak in initial development… that is until a momentary hint of a transformation—although more sense of the transformation is made later. The monster attacks are graphic and visceral, but lack the “monster-ness” for which I had hoped. In many ways, The Ritual (2017), Pumpkinhead (1988) and The Color Out of Space (2019) thrived where this film failed to meet my monstrous hopes.

So what were this film’s strengths? The discovery of human remains in a couple scenes is awesomely grotesque! The revelation of the creature’s “face” was outstanding! And the performance by child actor Jeremy T. Thomas was astounding!

The final conflict with the monster, however, was meh. I found the finale, the ending and the closing twist to all be very unsatisfying. But this film was far from regrettable.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 7, 2022 12:12 am

    I’ll take “far from regrettable”. Thanks for the review.

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