Rotten Tomatoes Rating: NA (Critics) / 29% (Audience)
Directed By: Brett Simmons
Written By: Thommy Hutson and Catherine Trillo
Starring: Keke Palmer, Jeremy Sumpter, Elizabeth Gillies, Joey Lauren Adams, Thorsten Kaye and Amaury Nolasco
Studio: Chiller Films
Synopsis:When plans for a weekend vacation hit a dead end, a group of close-knit friends find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a menacing predator. Holed up in an isolated cabin, tensions mount as long-buried secrets are revealed. As the body count rises, the group must put their differences aside and fight for survival. – (Source)
ANIMAL had a very diverse cast made up of a lot of actors I knew and liked from other works. It also used one of my favorite horror movie set-ups of a bunch of people trapped in a secluded location who get picked off one by one.
I liked the use of humor too because if they had tried to play this type of film uber-serious it would have been a disaster. The film also reminded me a lot of another low-budget horror movie, FEAST, which is a good comparison in my book.
I don’t expect to see a bunch of great thinkers in horror films especially the low budget varieties but the characters in ANIMAL were so incredibly stupid that it became laughable after a while. A little common sense and behaving in ways that are even remotely realistic would have been good enough for me. Half the cast died making stupid decisions based on saving the group that never really helped the situation they were in at all.
I also was pushed past the point of suspension of disbelief by the primary setting of this film. We are shown that this creature is large and incredibly powerful so the best place for the characters to hide out was a ramshackle cabin that looked like it would fall over if a summer breeze blew into it let alone having a bloodthirsty monster banging on its doors and walls with all of its might. Everyone in this movie should have been monster food by the 20 minute mark.
That “big twist” at the end was completely predictable. And there is a change in behavior by one of the characters in the third act that is just ridiculous unlikely and comes completely out of nowhere.
Final Verdict: A low-budget horror film that shows some ambition on the part of the filmmakers and makes some pretty decent lemonade out of the few lemons they are stuck with. While some parts of the movie are totally eye-roll worthy, ANIMAL features a good cast, some nice humor and enough thrills to rise well above the horror ghetto where similar SyFy Channel type films dwell.