The limited number of options for the new year of entertainment starts with a tale of terror.
“Antlers” Grade 2 ½ stars: A small town in Oregon – where the skies are cloudy all day – is terrorized by what many through was just a myth. The arrival of the dreaded wendigo creates panic and fear with each gruesome death.
All of the terror seems to swirl around a troubled young boy whose quiet nature and nightmarish drawings attract the attention of the new school teacher, Julia Medows (Keri Russell). She understands trouble having left the small town years ago because of terror in her own home.
Julia turns to her brother, Paul (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, to help her figure out why the young boy is acting so weird. What they find ignites a series of deadly encounters.
The script – co-written by director Scott Cooper – takes a standard horror path. The town is creepy because of the continuous bad weather. Most of the people who live there seem to always be on edge. The person with the most emotional baggage is the one who saves the day. And, there is a strange creature causing all the ruckus.
The fact master of horror Guillermo del Toro is a producer should have been enough to give this mediocre story a little nudge into more macabre areas. But, Cooper’s inexperience as a director – especially with this genre – is too much for even the maestro to correct.
There is one other major problem. Putting a child in danger is just a lazy way to try to win over an audience. What really happens is there is more sympathy shown for the characters who should be feared.
Overall, “Antlers” has no glaring problems. It also has no real reasons to cheer for the project. It’s little more than mildly entertaining.
Also new on DVD and Blu-ray
“Black Friday”: Aliens crash a super sale event. Bruce Campbell stars.
“NOVA: Arctic Drift”: Scientists go on a journey to the top of the world for the most ambitious Arctic research expedition of all time.
“Superdeep”: Team investigates the deepest borehole in the world.
“Weathering With You”: Chance meeting brings sunshine into a writer’s life.
“The Djinn”: Wish-granting creature brings pain and problems to a young boy.
“American Veteran”: Four-part documentary series traces the veteran experience across the arc of American history.
“The Way”: This is the story of Jane Arcs, who thirteen years ago was condemned to death after brutally killing her opponent in an underground street fight.
“Zeroes and Ones”: Soldier desperately looks for a way to stop a terrorist attack.
Available through digital platforms
“King Richard”: Will Smith stars in this story of the parents who turned Venus and Serena Williams into tennis superstars. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 8.
“Ghostbusters Afterlife”: A new generation of ghost hunters are on the hunt for spirits. Look for it on DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 1.
“A Mouthful of Air”: Best-selling author must confront dark secrets from her past.
“American Gadfly”: An 89 year-old former U.S. senator comes out of retirement when a group of teenagers convince him to run for president.