Scream Factory and Chiller Films continue to cement their successful partnership with the release of “Animal.” I remain amazed with every new film the little horror channel unleashes upon genre fans. This new movie continues to campaign for a revival of practical and creature effects over the use of CGI and is obviously winning the battle.
In “Animal,” plans for a weekend getaway hit a dead end when a group of close-knit friends finds themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a menacing, bloodthirsty predator. Holed up in an isolated cabin, they turn on one another as tensions mount and long-buried secrets are revealed. But when the body count rises, the group must put their differences aside and fight for survival.
“Animal” comes with a surprisingly eclectic cast brought together to pull in viewers from all different walks of life. Pop artists and actors Keke Palmer (“Joyful Noise”) and Eve (“Whip It”) star as meat for the beast. Other cast members from across the genre board include Joey Lauren Adams (“Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy”), Elizabeth Gillies (“Victorious”), Jeremy Sumpter (“Friday Night Lights,” “Soul Surfer”), Paul Iacono (“Return to Sleepaway Camp”), and Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break,” “A Good Day to Die Hard”).
Director Brett Simmons knows how to evoke a level of suspense and anxiety. He also does a great job of revealing the physical details of the mysterious creature a little bit at a time. The beast is rather unique although you can tell by looking at it what it was based on. Elements of Pumpkinhead and Alien Xenomorphs covered in Bigfoot hair come to mind immediately.
The Blu-ray edition of “Animal” comes with a few extra features. Audio commentary is provided by Director Brett Simmons. Short featurettes include interviews with the cast and behind-the-scenes footage. A theatrical trailer is found as well.
The movie is Unrated, although I would consider it to hold an “R.” “Animal” includes heavy violence and gore, profanity, and frightening and intense scenes. Plenty of chewed up body parts are left lying around after the creature gets through with the bits and pieces it’s interested in eating.
“Animal” is another quality horror movie from Chiller Films and Scream Factory. Melding together the best elements from classic creature features like “Pumpkinhead” and “Without Warning,” the first-person monster filming style of “Evil Dead,” and the isolated vibe from movies like “The Cabin in the Woods” and “Pumpkinhead” prove to form a solid foundation for a gory good time. Although it slows down a bit from time to time, it always throws the viewer right back into the blood-soaked thick of things.
"Animal" is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.