Antlers is yet another horror story taking place in a small town involving a mystical monster that is mysteriously brought to surface leaving a trail of victims in the process. Plot wise, this film does not bring anything new to the genre. What makes Antlers stand out a little above the rest of this crowded field is in its execution and high rate performances. Director Scott Cooper has a good sense of framing and this is evident with the quality of many of the scenes especially those taking place in the outdoors and with nature. He can manage to make the damp and drappy environment look almost beautiful. A simple scene taking place in a foggy night is made to look interesting with his play on lights in the background. The overall acting from its largely unknown cast was good and in particular, the performance of its young actor, Jeremy T. Thomas playing the role of a bullied kid with dark secrets harbouring monsters in his home. His acting was remarkably effective with his haunting eyes and look.
I also liked that Scott Cooper did not have to resort to employing any jump scare gimmicks to provide cheap thrills. The level of gore and violence was also at a very controlled level and never overboard or exploitative. Ultimately the movie’s poor story line was its weakest factor. To add to its “mystery” the monster’s origins was linked to the destruction of nature by humans over the years, patronising to the popular green movement and environmentalist ideals. The Antlers in the title refers to the deathly branched horns of the monster which depicts its link with the forest and nature. The monster is never really clearly seen since all the scenes it appears in are in the dark. So half the time it is left to our imagination. The finale could have been more memorable had it dared to venture into something less predictable.
Overall Antlers has nothing new to offer but its skillful execution made watching the familiar story bearable.