The Horror Honeys: Fear Lives In the Dark, Right Next Door to Boredom

Fear Lives In the Dark, Right Next Door to Boredom

A Guest Monster Honey Review by Jennica

Animal (2014)

Going into Animal (2014), I knew very little except that it was getting mixed reactions from critics and fans across the board. With a 4.6 out of 10 rating on IMDB, 60% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes (and 27% overall audience rating), there seemed to be plenty of reasons to run far away from this movie. However, I was still intrigued by the mysterious title and the minimalist poster. Unfortunately, you can't judge a movie by its poster, and the only monster tearing me apart was my own boredom. 

Five friends are herded into a cabin with three complete strangers by an unusual carnivorous creature in the woods. As time goes by and they are hunted one by one, they strive to develop an escape plan despite their unraveling relationships.

There were a select few features of this movie that almost made it worth the hour and a half of my time. Almost. 

For example, I was excited to see Joey Lauren Adams appear in the movie, as brief as it was, since she has one of my favorite voices in all of Tinseltown. But to my disappointment, she had fewer lines than any other actor or actress. I was also interested in seeing a horror movie executive produced by Drew Barrymore, but after watching this movie, perhaps she's better suited to be the one running around screaming. You know, in front of the camera.

Call 1996! It's an emergency!
The best part of Animal is likely the opening sounds, which make the film seem all too real. The soft chirping of birds and rustling leaves of the forest placed me in the serene outdoors (or a therapist's office) and for a moment I felt at peace. And just when I reached my peak level of relaxation, light drumming and the sound of thunderous roaring in the distance began, slowly growing louder and building my anxiety and anticipation for what I was about to see.

Speaking of noises, the movie also contains over half an hour of non-stop meaningless blah, blah, blah. I remember taking an acting class in college during which the professor often reminded students that some of the best acting can come from uncomfortable silences. Animal was filled with so much chatter that I was compelled to shoosh my TV screen. 

Not only was the dialogue unnecessarily excessive, but the characters themselves were some of the most uninteresting two-dimensional human beings. And they each represented a typical horror movie stereotype. Aside from the revelation of a couple dirty little secrets, I didn't really get to know the characters enough to be concerned with their fates. 

So, she's the virgin, right?
For a movie with its main appeal being a vague one-word title, I could only hope that my curiosity would be met with some answers after sitting down to watch it. What is this creature? Where did it come from? But I was lucky to catch even a few glimpses of the beast until the final scene. As seldom as the full-bodied animal appears compared to the number of scenes with people just standing around talking, it seems more appropriate to rename the movie "People."

Jennica's Rating: 2 Dead Hikers out of 5

My word to the wise would be to fast-foward to the last twenty minutes of this one, but only if you're really dying to see the "animal" in action. Otherwise, save your money for something more worth while. Like a pack of gum.

Animal is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Google Play, and 
blu-ray/DVD