Keri Russell's new horror movie Antlers gets first reviews

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Star Wars sequel trilogy's Keri Russell has binned off lightsabers for a set of killer antlers in director Scott Cooper's latest movie.

Literally titled Antlers, this dark creature-feature also boasts Guillermo del Toro as a producer, with one of the busiest actors of his generation Jesse Plemons playing one of the main roles as a local sheriff.

Russell portrays a school teacher in Oregon, who becomes concerned for one of her students (Lucas, portrayed by newcomer Jeremy T Thomas). What she doesn't know is that he's harbouring a horrific monster inside his house.

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

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Ahead of the movie's release on US screens later this month, the circle of critics have shared their thoughts in newly-published reviews, which you can browse through below.

The Hollywood Reporter

"Thoroughly successful both as icky arthouse horror and as an allegory of generational trauma, Scott Cooper's Antlers continues the director's hot streak while bearing the unmistakable mark of one of its producers, Guillermo del Toro.

"Adapted from a short story by Nick Antosca (one of three screenwriters here), it watches as an ancient, malevolent monster terrorises a small community already wracked by drugs and despair. Child actor Jeremy T Thomas impresses in his first lead performance, a haunted turn embodying the picture's deepest conflicts about family, duty and self-preservation."


"Antlers lives in the space between minimalistic arthouse horror films that place emotional character drama over scares, while also trying to be a gruesome creature feature. While it does have effective horror imagery and a phenomenal monster, as well as thought-provoking ideas about parental neglect and trauma, it doesn't fully come together in a cohesive and satisfying way.

"What we do see of the creature is absolutely magnificent, with designer Guy Davis crafting one of the best movie monsters in years, mostly in-camera. Even before we see the creature, Antlers boasts some truly horrific and grotesque imagery that could fit a theoretical fourth season of Hannibal, with dead bodies being mutilated and presented in ways that are as hard to look at as they are beautifully shot."

Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

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"Given its promise and everything it does right, Antlers winds up being a frustrating experience. It's always exciting to see horror taken seriously and constructed with detailed purpose, but the movie's aim falters at exactly the wrong time, and the issues badly undermine the best aspects.

"There is plenty to appreciate in its crafting, as it looks terrific, has bold style, and features quality performances, but it's let down by its disappointing conclusion."


"At his best, Cooper is someone who can wring tension and understanding from what's come before, not necessarily in anticipation of what's about to happen. Antlers ends up getting caught between the two. Moments where forces seem to buckle under violent tension are something of a Cooper specialty. Here, those moments feel less like carefully seeded outbursts and more like perfunctory bloodbaths that genre expectations demand."

The Wrap

"Those expecting more of a traditional monster movie based on the provocative trailers that have been playing since before the pandemic began may be disappointed by what amounts to a character study not unlike his film Out of the Furnace, except supported with supernatural elements. At the same time, Cooper's own commitment to the premise and its inevitably tragic conclusions requires some fearless, occasionally shocking filmmaking choices, and he unsurprisingly does not flinch from embracing them.

"Antlers is a handsome, meticulous, and yet overly serious entry in a horror sub-genre explored too infrequently these days; Guillermo del Toro was absolutely right to choose Cooper to bring the material to the screen, but what the film needs is more of del Toro's own exuberance to truly bring it to life."

Antlers hits US cinemas on October 29, with a UK date TBA.

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