Title: Animals (Fantasia 2017 review)

Also known as:
Tiere (Original title)

Year: 2017

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Drama

Language: German

Runtime: 95 min

Director: Greg Zglinski

Writer: Greg Zglinski & Jörg Kalt

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6510634/

A couple with a rocky relationship end up hitting a sheep on their way to the country. After the accident, nothing seems as before. They both experience weird black outs, have different memories of events, and sometimes outright can't tell if what's happening to them is real.

Our thoughts:
Sometimes there is a story behind a film that adds another layer to it all. Last year we saw the absolutely bleak Polish film "Demon", where the director hung himself during its Polish premiere. What lies behind "Animals" is similarly dark. Jörg Kalt wrote this screenplay a decade ago, but soon after he took his own life. He never got to direct his great screenplay, so filmmaker Greg Zglinski has picked up the screenplay, expanded upon it, and ends up dedicating "Animals" to Jörg Kalt. Exactly what is new in this script is unknown to me. However, I can guarantee that the end result is something to admire, and something I deeply hope Kalt would have been proud of.

Nick and Anna are planning a trip to a more remote location for six months for work. Nick is a chef and plans to get new recipes and a different culture, while Anna is a writer looking for some peace to write. Before they leave, they hire a young woman, Mischa, to take care of their home. On the road, Nick and Anna are in a small car accident, and nothing ever goes back to normal from that point. What follows creates inner turmoil within every character, as it blends paranoia, alternate realities and self-reflection.

There are definitely movies like "Animals". It echoes filmmakers like Zulawski, Polanski and Hitchcock to name a few. Yet there is something unique about the way Greg Zglinski (and Jörg Kalt) tackles the idea. When things go weird there is usually at least one character that we can relate to in any specific situation. Whether it is Anna who is confused about how long she had been at the hospital, Nick who thought he was talking to Anna by the table just before she stumbles into the house, or Mischa who is not allowed to open a specific door in the apartment without hearing the doorbell, there is always someone who is confused along with us. It might not seem like that's something special, but you'd be surprised how often "weird movies" have characters that just move the story along without projecting the audience's confusion. If this hadn't been the case with "Animals", I doubt I would have been that impressed by the movie. This way it is incredibly easy to follow the movie even when you have no idea what's going on. It's as if the movie is telling you that it's absolutely okay to feel like it's difficult to follow, because the movie builds on questions as much as answers, and atmosphere as much as story.

Behind all the weird shit that goes on here, there is a thoughtful and intriguing drama that makes us both feel and think. Though it is a slow movie, the way that it twists into itself in such an delicate manner helps keeping the audience hooked. Maybe "Animals" doesn't reach the greats of surreal arthouse in history, but it's certinly a must watch of the year so far. You might either be one of the lucky ones to see it at Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 right now, or you have something great to look forward to in the future!

Positive things:
- No matter how weird and confusing it gets, it helps us feel like we're part of it.
- Doesn't stray too deep into the weird. It never feels like it goes over-the-top.
- Great acting from Philipp Hochmair, Birgit Minichmayr and Mona Petri.
Negative things:
- I don't have anything specifically negative to say.

Gore: 0.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 2.5/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2017

Reviewed by:



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