I’m not saying that Animal is a “ripoff” of Feast. It’s hard to make an original monster movie these days. Everything has already been done. What I am saying though, is that whether or not the creative team behind the new Chiller TV film Animal admit it or not, they owe most of what they put together to Gulager and his hilariously claustrophobic monster movie from 2005. Animal is another one of those films, made specifically for Chiller TV, even though it is aired censored. A few months later, it is released onto Blu-ray, through some kind of deal that is currently in place between Chiller and Scream Factory. The story takes place, mostly within a single location(sound familiar?), while a crazy Feast-looking creature tries desperately to huff and puff and tear the house down so he can eat a bunch of people, including Joey Lauren Adams. It all sounds pretty derivative, and it is, but it still manages to be pretty entertaining, and some of the FX work, though highly reminiscent of previous monster movies, is pretty impressive.
When you make a movie for Chiller, the look and feel of your film depend almost entirely on your chops as a filmmaker. You’re not given a large sum of money to work with, that’s why you have output pouring out of that channel and onto Blu-ray with varying degrees of production values. Some spend their budget wisely, and others do not. Even the best looking film can’t make bad actors not bad, however. When you decide to watch one of these films, you’re basically signing a waiver that you’re not going to bitch and moan about the acting. Because it’s a guarantee that it’s going to be subpar, with either young actors that haven’t gotten their break yet, or has-beens who aren’t finding that much work lately. I’m a fan of Joey Lauren Adams, so I was glad to see her randomly participating in a horror movie.
If you can forgive the typical horseshit that weighs down mid-level horror movies, there’s fun to be had with Animal. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation of the film is fitting. The PQ and AQ are great. The extras are lacking, but I think in this instance that was a good thing. This is the type of movie that will entertain you during its running time, but when the credits roll, you’ll have had just about enough of it. The special effects and monster effects are well done, but so derived from previous monster movies that you don’t really need any kind of behind-the-scenes discussing the design, because you pretty much already know. If you’re looking for a movie to watch on a rainy day, when you don’t feel like sifting through your entire collection to find a piece of high art, you can squeeze a little fun out of Animal. You know whether or not you’re going to enjoy a movie like this, so buy responsibly. The $14.99 price tag will be an easy pill to swallow for fans of mid-tier monster movies. It won’t be making many top 10 of the year lists, that’s for certain, but you could find worse ways to spend 80 minutes of your life.