Wendigo: a mythological creature originating from indigenous folklore, described as a giant humanoid with a heart of ice who feeds on humans. Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), Antlers tells the story of a rural Oregon town with many deep-rooted secrets. We are met by a family of two brothers, Lucas and Aiden, as well as their meth-dealing/using single father, Frank. After working deep in an abandoned mine, Frank is attacked by a Wendigo and doesn’t die. If you’re familiar with the lore, if you don’t die…you turn. Lucas, the oldest brother, is tasked with taking care of his “sick” father and little brother.

Next, we meet Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) and her brother, Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons). Julia has returned home after running away from her own abusive father; leaving her brother Paul alone to deal with the aftermath. 20 years later, she returns home to face her demons and gets more than she asked for. As Lucas’ teacher, Julia finds herself face to face with her past and compelled to protect him at all cost.

The Monster At The Heart Of It All

This isn’t the first time a Wendigo has been used as the monster in a horror movie. Whether it’s the failed attempt at using the creature in the remake of Pet Semetary, to the creature from the first season of Supernatural; the lore of the Wendigo is a great background for frights all around. The Wendigo monster in Antlers lives up to all expectations you would have from a film produced by Guillermo Del Toro. It’s dark, twisted, and most of all – terrifying. There’s even a moment during the main confrontation when the creature is finally in its final form that is OMG jaw-dropping horror goodness. I don’t want to say too much and give it away, but you’ll know.

Overall, I found Antlers to be a fun ride. The film is suspenseful, has great performances by the actors, and doesn’t steer clear of tough subject matter or gore – which I find a lot of modern horror films are missing. However, the film does get a little bogged down by having too many cooks in the kitchen. We have Julia’s drama with her brother and past trauma, mixed with Lucas’s issues with his father turning into a creature; and his little brother possibly on the same path. With all the commonalities of childhood trauma, I’m sure they were trying to tell a deep story about child abuse in there, but I’ll leave that to the Ravenclaws to dissect. 

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