Although filmmakers Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund released another film on home video earlier this year, it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched anything by the co-directors. Their past projects have been a bit of a mixed bag for me, but I was still pretty damn excited to see what these two have cooked up for us once again. Was their 2015 film Animalistic a good film to end 2018 off with? Read on to find out…
Emma is traveling overseas for a press conference. After her first meeting goes smoothly, she hails a cab, only to be attacked and drugged. She wakes up in a filthy isolated cabin, where she is tortured and violated by a couple of psychopaths. Now, she must do whatever it takes to make it out of there alive.
I’ve been extremely fascinated with revenge films for years now. To see victims be subjected to such atrocious things that they, in turn, stoop to those same levels to exact revenge is a thrilling experience. Most often it is a bloody and violent affair, but then again, that’s what makes them so damn entertaining to the horror community. I can assure you that Animalistic fits perfectly into the more gruesome side of the revenge sub-genre.
This 78 minute long film features a small cast of just under ten total and that’s counting actors we only see on screen for about five minutes or less. The main group of actors is made up of Hanna Oldenburg, as our poor victim, and her captors, Ralf Beck as Jim, Torbjorn Andersson as Pete, and Niki Nordenskjold as Shirley.
I was extremely impressed with Ralf Beck’s performance; He is one of the more vile antagonists we’ve seen in this sub-genre to date. From the way he speaks to, of course, his heinous actions, one can’t help but hope he gets what’s coming to him… and let me tell you, he sure does!
While Hanna Oldenburg’s delivery of some of her lines left something to be desired, I have to say that I’ve never seen someone who can express so much emotion simply through facial expressions. In a matter of seconds, she was able to portray feelings of confusion, rage, disgust, and fear. These are all things one would feel under these circumstances, I’d imagine, and she does a wonderful job of letting the audience know that.
Originally titled We Are Monsters, this film feels a bit sluggish at times; It takes a quite a bit to get us to the point where Emma finally escapes those who have imprisoned her, but once she finally does, it is glorious.
The ways in which Emma dispenses of these villains will make any and all fans of films like I Spit on Your Grave or The Last House on the Left extremely proud. I don’t want to give away the means of which she gains retribution, but just know the true stars of Animalistic are the special make-up and effects team, which also happen to consist of two of the films writers/creators, David Liljeblad and Wiklund himself. There are some very brutal moments during this movie that some may have to look away from, but I personally loved them all.
If you’re a fan of revenge films and can look past some of the more low-budget stuff that takes place here, Animalistic should definitely move way up on your “to watch” list. It is unrelenting and I know you will have a good time with it. If you’ve enjoyed the co-directors’ previous titles like Blood Runs Cold or Wither, this one will be no different.
You can pick this film up on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing, so go out and grab it now!
Animalistic has earned itself a Repulsive rating of 3.5 woodchippers out of 5 from yours truly.