Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Animal, The Chiller Network Shines

Made for The Chiller Network, 2014's "Animal" is a terrific horror film, with a real neat monster. This is also the most shocking horror film shot in Connecticut since "The Horror of Party Beach" (see this reviewed on my blog, from Jan. 30, 2014).  Not a slasher, or a supernatural force, today's antagonist is a good old fashioned long-fanged creature.  In what I saw as a cross between "Night of the Living Dead" and "Prophecy," "Animal" (directed masterfully by Brett Simmons) is one of those films that you can never guess who the next victim will be.  Be careful in attaching yourself to any one character, it just may be their death knoll.  This film is also graced by some fine performances, great writing, and scary creature effects.
Five really good looking young adults (two babes, two hunks, and their "fifth wheel" gay friend) go hiking in the Connecticut woods.  Bad idea!  We initially grab onto Alissa (KeKe Palmer) and her beau, Matt (Jeremy Sumpter) as our most noble protagonists.  Respectful of nature, contemplative, more on their mind than just pre-marital sex, and really good-looking these two protagonists will have their relationship come to a screeching halt when Matt becomes an hors d' oeuvre for an incredibly bad-tempered monster.  Before that, our other couple, Mandy (Elizabeth Gillies) and Jeff (Parker Young) will have their relationship ended when the forest creature eats Jeff.  Now on the run, our quintet, minus one, flee to a remote and rickety old house deep in the woods.  Let us stop here for an aside.  One must give the writers, Thommy Hutson and Catherine Trillo much credit.  At no point in this film does any babe trip on a tree route, spraining her ankle...and at no point does our group lose cell phone reception.  Refreshing!
 At the house, which has been boarded up with broken down furniture, our group meets the remnants of an earlier hiking party.  Carl (Thorsten Kaye) and his wife Vicky (Joey Lauren Adams) and their soon to be psycho friend, Douglas (Amaury Nolasco) let them in.  Instantly, the creature pursues and nearly pulls Mandy's (Elizabeth Gillies) leg off.  Now our really ticked off antagonist has smelled blood, and he is hungrier.  It tries to get into the house, and eventually does, chasing our survivors all around.  Now Douglas comes up with a brilliant idea, use the wounded among them as bait, luring the creature into a human buffet, and then the healthy ones, run!  Now our more reasonable survivors must not only survive the monster, but also Douglas.
Don't get me wrong, in a horror story, we need lots of monster and lots of gore, but back-stories on the characters can be enhancing.  As our survivors attempt to remain survivors, a soap opera develops as Sean (Paul Iacono), Taylor Swift's biggest fan, reveals to one of the babes that her boyfriend is also his boyfriend.  Team unity is then tested.  Daring plans are formulated, and great self-sacrifice is made, but will it be enough to survive the very hungry creature, and the ill-tempered and amateur-survivalist, Douglas?  Available also on Netflix, enjoy a terrific monster story.  

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