Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Animals 2008
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
Writer: Craig Spector
Starring Marc Blucas. Naveen Andrews, Nicki Aycox, Eva Amurri, Andy Comeau, Bart Johnson and Gillian Shure
This is a film based on a horror novel from the 90’s written by one of my favorite writing teams from the 80’s, John Skipp and Craig Spector. This is their first novel to be adapted and while it is not one of their best pieces of work, it was still a solid story. This film gets the feel of the story well, its only drawback is its shoddy CGI and how it tries to sidestep calling this a werewolf story. The story is solid and really combines a horror tale really well with a down on his luck type of story. The film also has plenty of sex and that keeps the story rolling along well. The cast is good too, both Blucas and Andrews give strong performances in this. It is in the CGI where this film falters and brings it down a bit. It also seems to shy from calling the creatures in the film werewolves and that is another misstep it makes. I think if it had been more confident in being honest on what the film was about it could have and would have succeeded more. I still enjoy the film and do recommend it to other werewolf film fans though.
The plot basics are this, Syd Jarrett (Blucas) is a down on his luck man in a small town just subsisting from day to day. Until the day he meets the gorgeous Nora (Aycox) and he falls immediately in lust with her. She introduces him to a sub culture of animals where he encounters Vic (Andrews) and they do not get along. He finds that Vic is more an animal than human and this causes him to break ties with Nora after he is bitten by her during sex and he starts undergoing changes. Jarrett then discovers his hidden feelings for Jane (Amurri) a woman he sees at his favorite bar every day and discovers that if he is going to survive he needs to master these new found powers and put a stop to Vic and Nora once and for all.
This is a fun film that is not without its problems. The direction by Aarnioskoski has its strengthes. He does the dramatic and sexual sequences very well. But the horror and attack sequences seem rather hollow and without any dramatic effect to them. The script does a decent job of characterizing Jarrett but fails with all the other characters, there is little if no development of anyone else. The cast is quite good though. Blucas is a great heroic lead who always seems to be a step behind everyone else. Andrews is a sleazy and despicable villain and is a character you love to hate. Aycox is mainly there as eye candy and she fills that role very well. The SFX and make up effects are half hearted at best. The blood effects are good, but the monster sequences are so bad they could have been done better by Ed Wood. The score by Alan Brewer is sophomoric and is way too bombastic for a film of this type. This is not the best werewolf film I have seen but it is far from the worst.
This one gets 3 out of 5

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