Movie Review - Animal
Most of the films that I cover here for this site are indie-horror movies, made for very little money. These movies are made off of the hard work and sacrifices of the film makers, desperate to tell their story. I respect this tenacity immensely, which is why I find it more difficult to write what I would consider to be a 'negative review'. This is why most of the reviews found on this site do their best to be constructive in their criticisms, and try to avoid the snarky insults that other reviewers and horror rags are so quick to resort to. So here I am, racking my brain trying to find some positive things to say about the movie Animal. Yet, sadly, I am coming up short. Because there is absolutely nothing original about the material or the way in which it is presented. In fact, if it feels like I've seen every second of this film done before in other superior efforts. It's kind of like a paint-by-numbers version of a classic work of art, a watered down version that lacks any real soul. And one that you should skip.
A group of friends set off into the woods for a day of backpacking, but end up venturing too far away from their starting point to get back before dark. While trapped in the cover night, the group presses onward, but before long they realize they are not alone in woods. They are being hunted by an unknown predator. Now completely lost, the friends find a remote cabin in the woods where another group of travelers has already holed up. Tensions ignite between the two groups, but in the end they're forced to band together to fight for survival.
The story is a mashup of tired horror movie tropes with no new life breathed into them. The characters range from unlikable to downright detestable, and the over-the-top acting style pushes the film into 'after-school special' territory. The direction offers nothing unique as far as visual style is concerned. And the monster looks utterly ridiculous, like a poorly operated reject from Jim Henson's workshop. So by the end of the film, I didn't really care who lived or died, I was just happy it was over. I don't feel great about pointing out the flaws in someone else's art, but I would be doing my readers a disservice if I didn't give some of the reasons why I disliked the film. So there it is. I would strongly caution you against spending an hour and a half of your life watching this movie.
- Leo Francis