Fantasia Film Festival 2017 Review: ANIMALS

Greg Zglinski’s ANIMALS takes weirdness to a whole different level

 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 17’ REVIEW: ANIMALS (TIERE)

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Anna and Nick are planning a trip to Switzerland as their married life is on the brink of destruction. Nick, who works as a chef will collect local recipes and Anna, a children’s author will start her first adult novel. We don’t get to see how long they have been married, we just know that things ain’t looking good for the two. 

There’s a lot of tension, mistrust and doubt within the opening scenes of the movie. It would seem that Anna has very good reason to feel this way as Nick is having an affair. They are hoping that this time away will save their troubled relationship and put the spark back in their lives.

When they’re gone, the apartment will be left in the hands of a woman called Michsa. Even though Anna doesn’t seem to know Mischa, it feels that she has a burning jealousy towards her.  Anna gives Mischa a list of rules to abide by when minding the apartment. One of these rules: Never go behind the closed door that situated upstairs at the end of the hallway.

When the couple set off, a haunting dance track accompanies us and a red filter fills the screen. We watch the two drive to Switzerland through what seems like endless tunnels. Maybe I am wrong, but these scenes might depict something a lot more different than what we’re seeing on screen. 

Just before they reach their destination, they’re in a road accident killing a sheep in the process. After some routine check-ups, they’re both released from the hospital. Both of them have minor injuries, but it seems that it was Anna suffered the severity of the crash.

Fantasia Festival 2017 Animals Review

This is where the film takes an unusual turn.

Time gets all messed up and we start to relive certain scenes. This leaves a paranoia and uncertainty, mainly with Anna who starts to think she is loosing her mind.

Back in the apartment, Mischa has also been in an accident and has hurt her head, in the same place as Anna. We start to see Mischa’s strange tale of obsession with a local doctor and mistaken identity unfold. 

Meanwhile, back in Switzerland, Anna has made friends with one of the strangest looking cats I have ever seen. Of course, this black feline speaks perfect French and likes to smoke cigarettes and is full of useful information. I know you’re thinking “wtf?”, but trust me, this is a very “wtf?!!” kind of film.

Nick spends his day’s travelling to local Swiss villages picking up recipes for back home.  Anna doesn’t believe him, she thinks he is having another affair, this time with a woman in a nearby village. This paranoia pushes Anna further away from sanity until she is so far gone she starts to question her own perception of reality.

We have 3 separate stories, Anna, Nick, and Mischa, all of which are engrossing, and connected in proper Lynch/Hitchcockian style.

I was hooked on the absolute beauty on-screen. The Swiss backdrop almost looked like a painting, I have never seen it look so beautiful. It was a truly unsettling feeling to see something with such beauty carry this bizarre story.

Greg Zglinski’s, Animals is wonderfully shot and beautifully crafted together. It is haunting, unpredictable, and has two memorable, frightening performances from our two leads. 

Animals has elements of David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock among many others but it still shines enough to carry its own authenticity. A true mindfuck, perfect for fans of something different.

Animals first went into production in 2007 but the project came to a sad end when the director/screenwriter (Jörg Kalt) committed suicide. Zglinksi was a former student and paid the ultimate respect by finishing off his movie. 

Although I am not 100% sure about what I just watched, there is no doubting that Animals is filmmaking at its best. I can not wait to revisit the movie because there is so much more to it than your average film. Zglinski seems to be a master of his craft and I will be eagerly awaiting his next release.

Animals played at Fantasia Film Festival on July 16th, 2017

9/10

GG

 

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