Syd Jarrett (Marc Blucas) is an unsuspecting, down-and-out man in a washed-up hick town whose life is turned upside down when the drop-dead gorgeous Nora (Nicki Aycox) walks through the door of the local bar. Jarrett’s passion for Nora leads him peripherally into a sub-culture of animals where he encounters Vic (Naveen Andrews), a renegade whose animal instincts are stronger than his human ones. As things begin to get even worse, Jarrett realizes that his best chance for happiness, and survival, lies in his true love for Jane (Eva Amurri).
I’m familiar with the work of Craig Spector and John Skipp
but have never read anything other than the anthology they edited titled “Book of the Dead”. Craig Spector adapted the script for “Animals” based on the final novel he had written with Skipp and this is a strong tale of lust and lycanthropy. This is a unique take on the mythology that throws out any conceptions you may have and plays solely on man’s animal instincts.
Douglas Aarniokoski, knew just how to take the film in the right direction and hopefully captured the spirit of the novel, that I am now interested in reading. The cast is perfect and the movie is sexy and violent, a winning combination.
Jarrett (Marc Blucas) is a former high school sports star who is down on his luck, working a crummy job, and drinking his nights away at a local bar. Then in walks Nora (Nicki Aycox), a sexy out of towner who has her eye on Jarrett. His attraction to her takes over and in the heat of passion he is bitten by her. Things begin to change for Jarrett and his animal instincts begin to take over. In comes Vic (Naveen Andrews) a beast of a man who has complete control of his inner animal and has a problem with Jarrett. On the sidelines is Jane (Eva Amurri), the lovely waitress who truly loves Jarrett and will do anything to help him.
It took me a little bit to figure out exactly what was going on here but I have to say that I was completely drawn into this film. It was familiar and unique at the same time, something that is rarity. I really wish I had read the book first but since I didn’t, who cares. The script by Spector is fast paced, tense, and I loved how he played with man’s animal instincts, mixing it with a bit of the werewolf legend. And first time director Aarniokoski understood the ideas and was able to convey the ideas without turning into a cheesy sex romp or a crappy horror film, instead being more of an intelligent thriller, something we don’t see very often.
Strong direction isn’t all that made the film work, the cast was dead on. I really have to give props to Naveen Andrews (Lost), who really stole the show as Vic, the stories villain. Hopefully he gets the chance to chew a few more scenes as a bad guy in other films, he obviously had fun with the role and it really shows. Marc Blucas is really growing on me, especially in this film. His career has grown rather unique since his tenure on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
I’ve said it before, I didn’t like him on there but he is turning into an interesting actor. Nicki Aycox is perfectly cast, though her role here is similar to that of the demon Meg she portrayed on the hit show “Supernatural”.
She is just as sexy, seductive, and menacing as that character but in this film she wears a lot less clothes. And Eve Amurri plays the innocent bystander, the sweet girl that should be the one and you can help but love her for it. She is great here just as she is on Showtime’s “Californication”, the girl has range.
I’m not going to claim that “Animals” is perfect, there are problems. The first 30min is a bit uneven at times, some of the CGI is a bit weak, but overall this is a really good film that tries to be different and succeeds on that level. When the film does finally see the light of day, don’t be afraid to try something a bit different. There is plenty to enjoy here and the story itself is rather captivating. And for us horror hounds there is plenty of the red stuff to wet our sadistic appetites.