Ok, I have to admit, the only reason I watched Animal (2014) was because of the movie poster. It caught my attention and made me curious, so thumbs up to the art and marketing department. Then I after I started watching the movie I realized it was a Chiller’s film, which was a bonus to me because I’ve liked a few of the movies they’ve put out. Chiller Films is an American distribution company that specializes in releasing indie horror and thriller films.
Animal is a horror/thriller that has an eighty-six-minute runtime. It was directed by Brett Simmons and it was written by Tommy Hutson and Catherine Trillo. It’s rated NR (not rated) but has language and violence. Something else that caught my eye was that the movie was produced by Drew Barrymore. I was curious to see what about this movie caught Barrymore’s attention to want to produce it. Her past producer work has usually been on fun light movies like Never Been Kissed (1999) or even the action(?) flick Charlie’s Angels (2011). The last time she produced something dark was the movie Donnie Darko (2001). So, I figured something about Animal had to be good to get her in on a horror film.
The story is about five college friends that are out for a hike in the woods when they find a dead body of a woman and the animal that killed her. As everyone is running for their lives, they come across a cabin and decide to use it as a safe place to hide. Once they get inside the cabin, they realize there are other people already inside… for the same reason. Trapped inside the cabin by the creature, the small group of survivors must figure out a way to get out of the woods, before the creature catches them.
As far as the story goes it’s nothing new and super simple, which makes it’s just another creature hack n’ slash flick about tearing up poor individuals that look tasty. The upside about the story was it’s been a few since I’ve seen a creature flick. So the change up from the killer not being another zombie or serial killer flick was nice, but as a creature flick, I wasn’t impressed. It’s one of the movies that end up raising more questions than it answers before it’s over. Now, I’m not a big fan of movies where a creature pops up somewhere in the world, starts killing and we never find out where it came from. At first, I thought those kinds of movies where being all cool and mysterious, but later I realized it’s more like they didn’t want to bother putting a lot of work into the story. It was easier to leave everything as a mystery than it was to build a solid backstory for the creature.
The playthrough was good, but pretty quick once everything kicks off, which was kind of a downside in this case. Because right as everything gets going… it’s over. As far as a hack n slash goes, it’s a good movie. You get just enough story to get the characters in place to fight or die and that’s about it. For a decent horror flick, I was disappointed due to the lack of story and I got bored with the typical arguments you see when a group of people are put in a life or death situation. There are a lot of things that Animal had going for it that could have made it a really good movie, but they didn’t utilize that potential and it comes up short in the end. So, Animal ends up being a flick with some good death scenes and great effects, but that’s it.
Some of the cast is Jeremy Sumpter (Soul Surfer), Keke Palmer (Scream Queens), Elizabeth Gillies (Vacation), Parker Young (4th Man Out), Paul Iacono (Fame), Amaury Nolasco (Max Payne), Thorsten Kaye (All My Children), Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy) and Eve (Barbershop). Overall I think the cast did a good job, but no one stood out as a great actor/actress. It was cool seeing Adams in the movie and even though I think she’s a good actress, you can only do so much with what you’re given.
The special effects looked great and the monster that Gary J. Tunnicliffe came up with was the best part of the movie. When I think about it, it’s kind of sad that they wasted such a killer looking monster on this movie. Just a heads up, the movie is super gory, like watching people being opened up and eaten gory. So, bring a strong stomach if you’re wanting to give this one a watch.
Overall, Animal makes for a perfect late night horror flick when you’re needing a fix of random bloody deaths and very little storyline.