June 25, 2014

VOD Review: Animal (2104)

"Five friends head off into the remote wilderness for a weekend of _____, where they are terrorized by ______."

That has to be the most overused and tired premise in the Horror genre. Most of the time when we hear that plot synopsis, we cringe, because we know we're in for a movie filled will no cellphone reception; cars that won't start; a deserted old cabin of some sort; a bloodthirsty monster/supernatural entity of some sort; and a group of annoying and cliche' jerk-nuts who make stupid decisions and die painfully, save for the Final Girl.

Animal is one of those movies, which is fine, because sometimes movies like that end up being really good.

Animal is also a Chiller TV production, so right off the bat you know that it's going to have that Made-for-TV/Movie of the Week feel about it. That's fine too, because sometimes those types of films end up being really enjoyable as well.

Add to all of that two former Disney Channel stars; former platinum-selling rapper, Eve; and 90's QT Joey Lauren Adams, who we didn't even realize was still acting, and this movie, and its potential for failure, had us a bit worried.

In the end, Animal was an alright movie that didn't really do anything that we haven't seen done countless times before, and far better.
In prologue, four people are being chased by something terrifying in the woods, which grabs the straggler of the group and drags her off camera, because that's a really popular gag in Horror flicks these days.

Soon after that, five friends head off into the wilderness for a weekend of... blah, blah, blah. That set up is all too familiar, but at least this time the generic gang of five friends includes a black chick and a gay guy, which is definitely a bit of a rarity in these types of flicks. Could one of them end up being the movie's Final Girl? You never know!

As long as the white dude who dragged everyone into the woods to behold the wonders of Mother Gaia dies painfully, we're fine with any Final Girl that we get.
Anywho, these five friends hike into the woods to enjoy the splendor of nature before evil people chop down all of the beautiful trees (?!?). They spend all day hiking to some sort of special cave that one of them remembers from their Hippie childhood, because there's not going to be another time to go for a short hike in the woods, because nature is obviously disappearing tomorrow!

That is a great view of Nature's wonders.
Once night falls, they stumble across some grisly human remains, and then some mongoloid monster shows up and chases them to some cabin... where the people from the prologue are holed up, hiding like cowards. Together, the two groups of hikers are forced become one in an effort to survive!

He feels so alone right now.
Will the Animal kill everyone, and pretty much be set for food for next Winter? Will a hero arise, and lead everyone to safety, thus dooming the Animal to starve? Will Elizabeth Gillies take her top off, and instantly bump this movie up an entire letter grade? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, but suffice it ti say that the answer to all of these questions is "We should have just watched Feast again."

"Do...do we have to be in the sequel too?"
Animal could have been a good little movie, but it was far too boring to be anything more than passable. From the overused, generic premise, to the fact that nothing in the movie was particularly scary at all, this one was a sleep-inducing watch.

Animal tries to be funny, but the jokes don't really work. The movie also tries to be scary, but the titular "animal" looks so cheesy, and feels so non-threatening, that we couldn't help but find the whole thing more amusing than we did terrifying. I mean, are you telling me that the fierce creatures in this movie couldn't have broken through the half-assed boards and flimsy shit that was blocking the doors and windows, any time that they wanted to? The girls in this movie could have broken into the cabin and killed everyone if they wanted too, but the fierce "animal" was kept at bay by some weak-ass plywood? Right.

In what universe is this supposed to be scary?
And why would you let the only capable dude in the group basically sacrifice himself so that you can drag your all-but-dead friend to what you think is safety? Or why would you not show the kid trying to make a run for it; that could have been a good scene. Even his "death" was off-screen. Too many missteps like that ended up hurting the movie.

For a generic movie that doesn't really have all that much to say, there's more talking in this one than there is action. It almost felt like a slightly more violent episode of Goosebumps, and depending on what it is that you like in a movie, that could be a really good thing.

Listen to some music and let them breathe. Good girl.
We'll give this movie this much though: the practical effects were well done, and the kill scenes that we actually saw happen on-screen were pretty fun.

The cast also did an admirable job here, especially Keke Palmer and Elizabeth Gillies who were the true bright spots. It was also kind of cool to see the sassy gay kid stand up and take some action against the monster, instead of just standing around and serving no purpose other than being the gay kid in the room. Animal at least does do a good job at twisting expectations as far as character tropes go.

Maybe we spoke too soon...
Fans of Keke Palmer and Elizabeth Gillies will most likely flock to & love this movie, because 12-year-old girls are rabid when it comes to supporting the teen celebrities that they idolize. Most Horror fans however will probably find Animal to be a watered-down, overly-familiar bore of a time.

Animal isn't necessarily a "bad" movie, it's just a fairly boring one. It's possible that you may find it all to be a bunch of harmless fun, just know that it isn't really all that good.


Animal is available now on VOD


There's no doubt that both Keke Palmer and Elizabeth Gillies have bright futures ahead of them. If nothing else, Animal is a great showcase for both their talent and their beauty. Also, boobs.


  1. I agree with this review. I just saw this earlier this week, and I liked it, but it wasn't anything fancy or new. It was a hyped up version of Feast, in my opinion. The monster wasn't scary, but they did right by limiting its screen time. It's not a terrible movie, but it's not anything great or above par. a C- rating is about right. I might go with a solid C, but still, our opinions are very close. It would have been a lot better if we didn't have to pay for it. It's a couch movie for sure.

  2. You Had Me Sold At 2 Teen Disney Stars.

  3. I might be giving away my age here, but I have never heard of Keke Palmer and Elizabeth Gillies before. I will watch this for Joey Lauren Adams, though. Haven't seen her in a really long time. I hope she has aged well...

  4. Don't feel bad, neither had we before this movie.

    As for Joey Lauren Adams... well, we'll always have Chasing Amy.

  5. Alisha, your comment made us lol.