The premise for Animal had me immediately thinking of a flick that came out a few years ago called Creature. You may have heard of it, as Creature made an incredibly minor splash in securing a wide theatrical release. Animal may have been more deserving of such a release as its far simpler and straight forward monster in the woods plot is more palatable for general audiences. Regardless Creature and even the comparable Project Greenlight third outing Feast at least aspired to be more, and had far more interesting kills.
The flick opens with a group of adults being pursued through the woods by some creature or Animal. One of them is taken and the others make off into the night. Cut to: a group of young friends head off into the woods for a weekend vacation. After some talk about deforestation and some convincing by the group’s leading douche-bag to get more in-touch with nature, they’re off on the day’s hike. Soon enough night falls and they’re lost. While trying to find they’re way back they come across the Animal, which quickly chases them into a nearby cabin. Here they meet the adult group from the opening scene. From here on out you can pretty much guess how this one goes.
The cast is great in this, even if the characters are flat. The issue there is the script makes the mistake of thinking we’d care about these people. The point of the film is the monster, er sorry Animal, and the characters fight against it, not that the character’s personal lives are also falling apart. When the focus is on the horror the film is pretty darn effective and entertaining. And let’s face it, most horror films are chock full of unimportant characters. No doubt having Drew Barrymore as executive producer lent enough credibility to pull together a mostly TV star cast, but it’s more than most low budget horror can attract.
There’s really not much to comment on or review here. The creature, damn I keep doing that, the Animal costume is professionally done, as are the kill and gore effects. The main issue holding this flick back is its attitude toward recycling every cliche available to it. Even the Animal‘s movements and sounds are a direct lifting of the raptors from Jurassic Park. While the film-making is unimaginative, it is effective and the movie as a whole works. I suppose when you steal from everything that’s worked before… Animal is just another monster in the woods movie.
Director: Brett Simmons
Stars: Jeremy Sumpter, Joey Lauren Adams, Elizabeth Gillies, Keke Palmer, Amaury Nolasco, Parker Young, Eve, Paul Iacono, Thorsten Kaye