What are you willing to do to keep a secret? Would you kill to have it all to yourself? The answers reach an uncomfortable crescendo in the new horror film “Antlers.” Searchlight Pictures’ creature feature brings together a boy and a monster with an insatiable appetite. Instead of games with friends, this child’s activities seemingly consist of delivering the beast its daily share of brutality. His teacher and her brother soon set out to discover the strange creation lurking among their community. The movie is also steeped in myth and legend, particularly the Native American myth of the Wendigo.
The origins of “Antlers” trace back to Nick Antosca’s short story “The Quiet Boy.” Antosca, better known for his recent work with the series “Channel Zero” and “The Act,” once again assumes more than the creator role. He also gets screenplay credit along with C. Henry Chaisson and the film’s director Scott Cooper, In the story, Antosca gives a nod to narratives of the past with the same child and creature conundrums.
For his part, director Cooper is bringing his sense of realism to aspects that might otherwise be exploited for their supernatural tendencies. Scenes are full of blood and gore at levels that expose the true nature of brutality, never letting up on what it means for the child to deliver at any cost. His visual style, crafted on titles like “Crazy Heart” as well as “Black Mass” is on full display. The creature’s design also plays into the film’s look, seemingly at home with its connections to nature and the Wendigo. Its appearance also fits nicely into the aesthetics producer Guillermo Del Toro has established for previous films. Viewers can’t help but recall the time and attention given to monsters in movies such as “Pan’s Labyrinth.” The characteristics are as developed and exquisite as the actors’ performances.
“Antlers” stars Keri Russell, Jeremy T. Thomas, Jesse Plemons, and Graham Greene. “Antlers” recently revealed its new release date, listed in the massive shift of Disney pictures right before the weekend. Originally scheduled on April 17, 2020, “Antlers” will now arrive in theaters on February 19, 2021, that is, if theaters exist then. Watch the new clip/featurette and the Comic-Con@Home panel.