Antlers Director and Star Talk Blending Myth With Trauma for New Monster Movie

The horror genre has a long history of allowing storytellers to explore real-world issues under the premise of things going bump in the night, with some leaning into allegories more heavily than others. With director Scott Cooper's Antlers, the mythology of the Wendigo allows a story to unfold in which the beast's insatiable appetite is reflected in the cycles of abuse endured by its characters, including Keri Russell's Julia, who witnesses tell-tale signs of abuse in one of her students that she herself had demonstrated as a kid. Antlers lands in theaters on October 29th.

When ComicBook.com asked Russell what drew her to the project, the actor confirmed, "Well, it was mostly to work with Scott, I'm a fan of his work and his films, and I just thought it was an interesting take, him doing a horror movie. And I think it did ... It ended up being this elegant version of a horror movie, and then with [producer Guillermo del Toro's] monster magic involved, it just was a no-brainer for me."

In Antlers, a small-town Oregon teacher (Russell) and her brother (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, discover that a young student (Jeremy T. Thomas) is harboring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences. The new trailer reveals that dangerous secret to be that someone close to the young boy, perhaps his father, is possessed by none other than Wendigo, with the boy bringing them their meals (the other people in the town). 

Cooper went on to explain the impact the experience had on him when it comes to reflecting on the real-world origins of what would go on to become supernatural urban legends and myths.

"I think if you're making a film like this you have to [believe the myths], but it was a real struggle to reconcile my very grounded aesthetic and Guillermo's more fantastical and whimsical aesthetic. I wish that my films had some of the whimsy or impish humor that this has, but, unfortunately, that's not in my genetic makeup, at least not at the moment," the filmmaker pointed out. "But I do want to make a comedy. I thought it was really, really important that we really tell the story of what are the fears and anxieties that are coursing through, not only in America on a macro level, but on a much more local level. These small towns and cities that really have been left behind. Those people who live on the margins are the people who generally populate my films and aren't really central to studio filmmaking. So it's important for me to understand them and to understand what those fears and anxieties are and how I can make them all, all too human."

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Antlers lands in theaters on October 29th.

Are you looking forward to the new film? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars.