Movie Review: Animal Among Us (2018)

Merrymaker Campgrounds has a bit of a bad rep…I mean sure two girls were savagely murdered there a few years back, but the case was chalked up to an animal attack and that’s all she wrote, right? Fuck no, what the hell kind of fright flick would that be?!! Enter horror author/college professor/philanderer Roland Baumgarner (Christian Oliver) who just so happened to write a book based on that hot mess mentioned above and heads out to Merrymaker to cut the ribbon at the camp’s grand re-opening. Once there he meets the rangers in charge; Anita and Poppy Bishop (Larisa Oleynik and Christine Donlon respectively), grizzled hunter Burl Wolf (Don Frye, and some frazzled survivors that claim they were fucked up six ways to Sunday by a monster…”animal attack” my ass! Of course the killing continues on and secrets are revealed that challenge everything our heroes know about the monster and themselves!

Let’s start with the positives with Animal Among Us…and there are plenty…before we get to the big negative (which I can’t even really talk about…this is going to be another award losing review my creeps…). so, positives; let’s start with the acting, all of which is outstanding, but if I had to pick a standout it would be Don Frye as Burl…this dude is all cigar chompin’, thousand mile stare, gravel voiced menace…it’s never a question of “if” this guy is going to explode into sudden, uncontrollable violence, it’s simply a question of “when”…an absolutely perfectly cast, pitch perfect performance. Following that we have the screenplay Jonathan Murphy; full of twists and turns, unique takes on well established tropes, and impossible to fully guess upon first viewing…this is a narrative that holds on to the viewer and takes them on one hell of a suspenseful ride. Adding to that is the skillful directing of John Woodruff who ensures the story never stalls…but like I said, there is one problem with this flick my fiends…

Unfortunately, the part that lacks in this creature feature is the “creature” itself. While I would never give out a spoiler in one of my revoltin’ reviews and ruin someone’s hard work, I have to say that while still satisfying and appropriate to the story, the nature of the beast in question left this monster lovin’ lunatic a tad frosty. Again, it in no way ruins an incredibly strong film, it’s just a bit left of center for what I was hoping for…

Loaded with tension, twists, and solid action; Animal Among Us is a taut thriller with slasher and cryptid overtones…a unique combo for sure, and one which i urge you to seek out, even if things don’t go according to expectations set up by the narrative.






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