Teacher Julia Meadows (Keri Russell), recently returned to her small hometown in Oregon, becomes concerned when one of her students, Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas), becomes withdrawn and starts producing creepy drawings of bloody mayhem as kids in horror movies are wont to do. He’s also taken to collecting roadkill and taking it home, which is really a whole ‘nother level of strange. Suspecting that the kid is dealing with domestic abuse, and in turn, reminded of the abuse she and her brother Paul (Jesse Plemons) suffered at the hands of their father, she decides to look into Lucas’s situation. But what she uncovers is far more horrifying than she ever expected …

… in theory, at least.

I have a lot of problems with what might be termed misery tourism, in which well-meaning liberal filmmakers attempt to shine a light on The Plight of the Poors or some other disenfranchised demographic, and Antlers is essentially misery tourism dressed up for Halloween. Writer and director Scott Cooper, Crazy Heart (2009), has given us a dirge in the tone of last year’s Hillbilly Elegy but much more self-serious, presenting an economically depressed milieu where everyone is miserable, drugs are rife, employment prospects poor, and the futures of the children in Julia’s class somewhat less than bright.

Read more at Mr. Movies Film Blog.

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