When enthusiastic indie filmmakers shop their movie ideas to potential investors with the promise of perks and those familiar huge returns at the box office that inevitably dry up into a Video on Demand run on sites like NetFlix and Hulu before the initial hype has fully evaporated, it reminds me of a delicate balance that goes unquestioned and is maintained within the industry. It is because of this balance, one of copycatted topical familiarity and recognizable face-based drawing power, that nothing truly original or groundbreaking ever sees a decent release. Take Animal (2014), for example.
Looking for a coherent script? Gonna need stronger flashlights....
After seeing two couples fleeing for their lives through the forest at night, no doubt from an unclassified thingie of unequalled aggression, homicidal to humans and not above snacking on the first bimbo who trips over her own feet and falls (such tropes are easy prey. And delicious.), we're then introduced to a gaggle of self-important, collegiate humps fixing to wander off into the same woods for an all-day hike. Don't get lost looking for an elusive waterfall you visited as kids, whatever you do. Oops. There's the cadaver of Barbara the Clumsy (Eve. Yes, THAT Eve) to stumble upon. Jeff (Parker Young) soon joins her as the latest member of the bodycount, thanks to that aforementioned "animal". The survivors make it to a not-all-that remote cabin that is in the process of being fortified by the three survivors from the initial attack. One, Douglas (Amaury Nolasco), is a cynical prick, only concerned with saving his own miserable hide. One is Joey Lauren Adams, former favorite of that fat comic book nut from New Jersey that dabbles in movies. Has it been that long?
"Finally free of the patriarchy out here, and all I can think about is cooking flapjacks..."
Next comes the heroic escape attempt that Douglas nearly puts the kibosh on, getting him tied to the stairs for all his worst efforts, and then the late Jeff's squeeze, Mandy (Elizabeth Gillies) reveals that she's been carrying his unborn baby. Sean follows that up with the revelation that he and Jeff had also been buttcheek buddies together. At least the "animal" isn't playing with it's food (Matt) directly below them, in the cellar. Oh wait, it has. The group manages to spring Matt from the jaws of the beast, while Carl eats heroic death running interference for them as they escape upstairs. Doug puts out the suggestion that they all escape while it finishes off Matt, then breaks loose and beats him to death himself when they refuse. Whatta guy. He's next. The remaining yobs plot to trap the "animal" while they raze the place to the ground, which is effective until the second one appears and further thins the herd until Mandy drives over it's dome, a la Phil Leotardo, to safety. At least there aren't any more...
"No, Ike, any damned thang but those reptile loafahs of yoahs!", pled a hysterical Tina Turner.
Tonight's effort was produced by no less than the delectable Drew Barrymore herself, and still scores significantly lower than "marrying Tom Green" on the Bad Idea-O-Meter for the sultry celeb, no stranger to genre flicks, having lent her image to such films as Cujo, Cat's Eye, Firestarter, and Scream, throughout her career. The movie is brief, with a running time of less than ninety minutes (leaving out elements like plot and character development will do that for you), but fails ultimately in delivering anything at all that horrorhounds won't have encountered better examples of, hundreds of times already ("Feast" comes to mind, instantaneously). O solo Woppo.
"Heeeey youuuuuuu guuuuuuuuuuys!" That was an Electric Company/ Rita Moreno reference, if you're keeping score at home.