Written by Lauren Johnson
Cusumano Brown, CNN Written by Lauren Johnson, CNN
The horror flick “Antlers” , directed by Alison Maclean, centers on a family of hunters who just have to finish off a large hunt in the woods. When things start to go wrong, they decide to move to a cabin in the mountains, in hopes of hunting their opponent: a giant giant.
While it could work as a “Sabrina” horror film (or any movie that requires two teenagers to engage in a battle of wits), that the outcome is far too predictable and uninteresting, Maclean and her movie have forgotten about this concept by tying the plot to the forest, not the woods themselves. So in the second act, the creepy townsfolk hunt down the camera crew and that’s that — a dull, dreary, ugly film.
When asked about making a movie with a distinct visual style and dark humor, she says the process reminded her of “this joke in the book ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ that goes like this: “Nothing bad happens to Bridget Jones. It’s so boring, she will never go to work again.” And besides, the vibe here is less about the scares and more about the meaning behind the creepy huts and the puritanical spirit hunting our protagonists — and not a great one.
Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that she’ll ever make another horror film, or many more movies after this one, despite her efforts to prove otherwise. In recent interviews, she displays an inability to figure out what to do with this horror-parody-triple-threat combo.
By making a film about hunters and killing animals (both very real topics in the rural South), she’s afraid to use certain words and images (do people really like cats in those places?), but worse, she’s been incapable of coming up with a zombie-supernatural plot that could make the plot feel fresh and inventive.
It’s too bad — this is the director’s best movie to date.
A lengthy behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of “Antlers” , does nothing to dispel the belief that it never will be made again, since viewers should have already gotten the message from Maclean’s previous work. And a sadly telling paragraph in the main “Antlers” review on IMDB signals that the film may also never be made: “If by the end of the review you’re still wanting to see more of this particular scarefest, you will not be disappointed,” it says.