Jeremy T. Thomas and Keri Russell in a scene from “Antlers.”

ANTLERS  (Theaters)

Since “Antlers” is produced by horror master Guillermo del Toro, the audience expects a scary supernatural creature.

The “wendigo,” an antlered deer-like savage does the trick. The massive ravenous beast is part of Native American lore as explained in the film by Warren Stokes (Graham Greene).

Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) has returned to her childhood home in Oregon, where she teaches elementary school and lives with her brother, Sheriff Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons).

As if this impoverished, former coal mining, meth-infested place wasn’t unsavory enough, the “infected” Frank Weaver (Scott Haze), the father of Julia’s 12- year student Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas), is morphing into the aforementioned antlered brute. As Julia recalls her own abusive childhood, she attempts to learn why Lucas remains withdrawn and afraid. She also wants to know why Lucas’ younger brother Aiden (Sawyer Jones) is not attending school.

Director Scott Cooper presents a horrendous, hair-raising tale with the expected graphic images of blood and chewed-up bodies. The film suffers from its cliched “Don’t Go into that Scary Place” syndrome and from the sheriff’s strangely clueless behavior.

Rated R

2 and 1/2 Stars


Would-be fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie) goes to London to study and somehow finds herself flashing back to 1966 as she inhabits the body of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a beautiful singer and dancer who came to London during the Swinging Sixties.

Co-writer and director Edgar Wright’s psychological horror tale begins as an upbeat, 60’s music-filled reminiscence of the fashions and wild partying of an earlier era.

As in Wright’s previous movie “Baby Driver,” retro music dominates the film. One scene includes an actress portraying singer Cilla Black warbling her “You’re My World,” and Taylor-Joy does a brilliant rendition of “Downtown.”

As the story continues, it moves to the dark side of the 1960s in London’s nightclub district with Sandie (rather Ellie as Sandie) experiencing the heartbreaking and ugly reality of becoming handsome Jack’s (Matt Smith) girlfriend.

While actresses McKenzie and Taylor-Joy do some of their best work here, the film doesn’t transition well from a light, music-filled story to a bleakly-toned bloody horror tale. Still, “Last Night in Soho” remains a compelling feature.

Veteran iconic actors Rita Tushingham, Terence Stamp and the late Diana Rigg add to film’s nod to a bygone era.

Rated R

3 Stars

MASS  (Theaters)

As she readies a meeting room in an Episcopal church, Judy (Breeda Wool) nervously awaits two couples who have an appointment to use the private space.

Counselor Kendra (Michelle N. Carter) has made the arrangements for Jay (Jason Isaacs) and Gail (Martha Plimpton) to meet with Richard (Reed Birney) and Linda (Ann Dowd).

For his feature debut, actor turned writer and director Fran Kranz succeeds well with this emotionally-wrenching and profound drama.

As the viewer gets to know the four people facing each other, their tragic history unfolds. Slowly, they revisit the painful and still raw events that occurred years earlier.

Each actor gives the performance of a lifetime in challenging roles. Plimpton and Dowd earn praise for their roles as tormented mothers, and Birney and Isaacs as beaten-down fathers.

Rated PG-13

4 Stars

Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and  entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.

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