Director: Brett Simmons
Starring: Joey Lauren Adams, Keke Palmer, Jeremy Sumpter, Paul Iacono & Elizabeth Gillies
Released by: Scream Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
From Executive Producer Drew Barrymore (Whip It), Animal focuses on a group of friends as they head to the wilderness for a weekend getaway. Upon their arrival, a bloodthirsty creature sets its sight on its latest prey. Scared and stranded, the friends retreat to an isolated cabin where secrets are revealed and survival appears grim. Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP), Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan), Paul Iacono (The Hard Times of RJ Berger) and Elizabeth Gillies (Victorious) star in this contemporary creature feature from Chiller Films.
Reminiscent of backwoods horror films from decades past, Animal welcomes the viewer back to familiar territory with a group of attractive twentysomethings in search of an idyllic getaway only to fight for their survival. The Chiller Films production wastes little time transitioning to night allowing the group to get lost as an unsuspecting monster stalks their every movements. Equipped with immense strength and razor sharp teeth, Gary J. Tunnicliffe’s (Scream 4, Piranha 3DD) creature design work is a satisfying sight that charms the viewer with its practical capabilities. In addition, Animal surprises with buckets of blood that drowns the viewer in corn syrup, much to the delight of gore enthusiasts. While, Animal satisfies painting the town red, its cast fail to make a lasting impression. Spending the majority of the runtime evading death, the cast fail to partake in any scandalous activities one would expect from films of this ilk. In addition, characters are underdeveloped, even as the token gay character makes a late, unexpected reveal that although, intriguing, would have injected more conflict amongst the friends if utilized earlier. Cast highlight Joey Lauren Adams‘ appearance is almost entirely forgettable despite being one of the most recognized names of the film. Overall, Animal hardly revolutionizes the backwoods formula audiences have come to expect but, still manages to offer a decent modern take with an efficient pace and topnotch gore achieved the old fashioned way.
Scream Factory presents Animal with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Picture is clean and clear with natural skin tones intact and well handled black levels for a film that takes place predominately at night. Accompanied with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, Animal handles hushed dialogue and the striking volume of the creature’s growls nicely. An optional DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo mix is also provided for your listening pleasure. Meanwhile, special features include an Audio Commentary with Director Brett Simmons, Interviews with the Cast (1:43), Behind the Scenes (3:04), Theatrical Trailer (1:45), Teaser Trailer (0:32) and reversible cover art.
Earnest and gory, Animal doesn’t offer anything horror enthusiasts haven’t been privy to before but, entertains with its effective creature designs and generous supply of bloody carnage. Applauded for its TLC of cult classics, Scream Factory treats this contemporary offering with sound audio and video specifications as well as a decent spread of bonus content for viewers to bite into. Available also on DVD, Animal should satisfy those yearning for a modern backwoods rendezvous achieved by practical means.
For more Blu-ray/DVD reviews from Mike Kenny, head over to Mike’s Pop Culture Playhouse!