Antlers – Blu-ray Review

Antlers

The themes of trauma, grief, and PTSD have been in horror genre films for decades. Recently, films such as Midsommar and the recent Halloween films have approached these themes in varying ways with mixed results. Scott Cooper‘s Antlers is yet another film that addresses these themes with variable results. It’s a dark and dreary flick for sure, but it also features a creature from the mind of Guillermo del Toro.

With Guillermo Del Toro producing, Antlers has a stellar and frightening creature production. The Wendigo shown here is a vengeful Native American spirit, angry at humanity stealing from the environment. Thus, Antlers is rich with thematic potential. Indigenous America and environmental issues reflect the concerns of society today. Not to mention, the film integrates trauma and abuse with this folk monster as well. However, although Antlers’ monster is a formidable foe, it ends up falling flat as a metaphor for modern-day society. The script is weak, and it seems like they didn’t know how to construct the plot coherently. 

At least the film is gorgeous, though. Antlers are beautifully realized and atmospherically shot—one of the best-looking horror films of the year. Thankfully, the film also features some fantastic performances. Keri Russell and Jeremy T. Thomas are poignant in their respective roles. Both are suffering from their past and present, and it’s those shared experiences that bring them together. At the same time, they display their inner pain well without showing their abuse to audiences. It’s truly heartbreaking to watch.

Overall, Antlers is a decent monster flick that feels as if it had a more clever film underneath. Much of the lore feels hollow as the film tries to deliver on some shocking reveals that lack any stakes. However, if you watch Antlers as a piece of gory creature entertainment, then it’s enjoyable. If you think it’ll be like one of the premiere modern horror films, then you might be disappointed.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Antlers - Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, and Keri Russell

Video

Antlers hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. As you can imagine, the movie isn’t a particularly bright-looking film, but light still plays a crucial role in this. The whites stay vibrant throughout without any bloom—even in the dark as flashlights blaze off the screen. Darkness plays a tremendous factor in the movie, and you can get caught up in looking at all of the pitch-black (in this case, a deep, dark gray). Even within these dimly-lit scenes, details are still visible in the darkest shadows.

Also, this isn’t a colorful film, but red bursts off the screen. You can see it in elements like the red of the flares, the crimson red of the blood, and the red of the neon signs. Right off the bat, you’ll see just how clear the picture is when you look at the wide-angle shot of the mountainous Oregon town.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Antlers - Jeremy T. Thomas and Keri Russell

Audio

Antlers hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it over and over again: The audio mix in a horror movie is crucial to the enjoyment of audiences. The audio track for Antlers is, thankfully, no different. The creature that moves across the soundstage growls seamlessly to mess with the viewer’s anxiety. The same goes with the sound of flies moving across the front and back channels. When the audio mix isn’t giving you dread, the atmospherics and score help keep the quieter moments alive. Since this takes place in a forest town in Oregon, the wildlife brings the environment to life. Also, scenes inside the mine have distinct sound effects of water dripping down.

At the same time, Javier Navarrete’s score takes up the entire soundstage—although it doesn’t appear often. The instruments are also separated, which leads to some rich experience. The dialogue is crystal clear. Not to mention, the subwoofer loudly comes alive and shakes your viewing area as it emphasizes the power and strength of the Wendigo.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Antlers - Keri Russell

Special Features

Antlers‘ Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • The Evil Within
  • Am Exploration of Modern Horror with Guillermo del Toro
  • Artifacts and Totems
  • Gods Walk Among Us
  • Cry of the Wendigo
  • Metamorphosis
  • [email protected] with Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro
  • Theatrical Trailer
Features Assessment

“The Evil Within” focuses on the thematic elements and the world’s societal concerns of the film and how the monster represents it all. As the name suggests, “Exploration of Modern Horror” has del Toro talking about the new wave of artistry that’s taking over the genre. With “Artifacts and Totems,” it’s a bit of a misleading title. Instead of a discussion about artifacts and totems, the featurette talks about the importance of the small-town setting and the moody look of the flick.

Thankfully, “Gods Walk Among Us” is what you exactly think the featurette is about. Today, Guillermo del Toro is considered the master of the “creature feature,” and hearing him talk about the Wendigo is phenomenal. It also lets you see what the creature looks like in broad daylight. Spoiler alert: it’s as freaky in the light as it is in the darkness. If “Gods Walk” talks about the creature’s creation, then “Cry of the Wendigo” talks about the myth that it’s based on. Now, you’ve probably heard of the Wendigo in various media such as Final Fantasy and Marvel Comics, but it’s still fascinating to hear about the creature’s mythological origins. “Metamorphosis” highlights Scott Haze’s interest in the role and his slow and gruesome transformation into the Wendigo creature. Finally, the “Comic-Con” feature is the entire Zoom panel from the virtual San Diego Comic-Con edition.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Antlers is a beautiful horror film that sadly feels way too underdeveloped. The same can be said about the bonus features as well. Thankfully, the video and audio presentations are both outstanding.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Antlers is now available in stores on Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

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