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Antlers

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CREEPY Twelve-year-old Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas) is handed enormous responsibility when his father and brother encounter a supernatural entity, setting in motion a quest to end a curse, in Antlers, available at Redbox. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • CREEPY Twelve-year-old Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas) is handed enormous responsibility when his father and brother encounter a supernatural entity, setting in motion a quest to end a curse, in Antlers, available at Redbox.

What's it rated? R

When? 2021

Where's it showing? Redbox

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Co-writer Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Black Mass) directs this supernatural horror thriller about a schoolteacher, Julia Meadows (Keri Russell), who suspects one of her students, Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas), is being abused at home. The boy's father, Frank (Scott Haze), runs a meth lab in an abandoned mineshaft, so there's reason to suspect Frank may be a neglectful or abusive man, but the truth is far more sinister. An ancient entity that preys on humanity has been unleashed.

The film is rich in atmosphere, which is its strongest characteristic. Set in a small Oregon town that's fallen into hard times, the story is also about Julia's brother, Paul (Jesse Plemons), who's the town's sheriff and must contend with all the drug activity. As the story unfolds, we learn why Julia returned to town and now lives with Paul in their dead parents' house. They, too, harbor secrets.

As they continue to uncover what's happening to Lucas, it becomes clear that something supernatural is afoot, but how to end this wendigo curse? The film covers a lot of themes, from child abuse to environmental destruction, and it's admittedly uneven. It's basically about a body-jumping entity that turns its host into a stag monster, which is inherently dumb.

The film takes itself seriously, which may have been a mistake. It either needed to explore more thoroughly its dark themes or lighten up and take The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) comedy-horror approach, but it's at Redbox, and with my $1.25-off promo, it felt like 60 cents well spent. (99 min.) Δ

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