In cinema, every category contains sub-genres, horror likely has the most, some more adventurous than others, but the exploitation topic houses the rape and revenge tales and even the torture porn. Rarely does a movie ask for them to care about a rapist, and far less about the victim, overall making it from the viewpoint of the killers, never to accomplish any appeal with the audience, providing essentially no breakdown of the maddening killers, no introspective to why they commit actuaries, nothing exists. Directors Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund both who did the impressively fun Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) did this sickening (not in a good way) and stale story, the story feels a tad too much overused, while giving a moment to perhaps for some sort social commentary it drives strain to a ditch and leaves the audience stranded with no sense of direction, except knowing Wild Eye Releasing distributed the project in 2018.
A businesswoman Emma (Hanna Oldenburg (Blood Runs Cold ) comes to America from Australia to sign a controversial oil contract, for a company called ‘Big Oil’ sadly there isn’t much of a backstory on her, as she nonchalantly gets into a taxi, driven by Shirley (Niki Nordenskjold) who kidnaps her, once back at the shack in the woods she meets another victim Marie (Johanna Wagrell) captured by assaulters, greeted with an explicit ending. A quick intro to one of her captors Jim (Ralh Beck (Wither ), who clearly steals his scenes with his hate and sadistic perversions and his cohorts which includes a stereotypical mentally challenged man, Pete (Torbjorn Andersson), their home conditions clearly taking a page from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Jim quickly treats Emma as both garbage and furniture with his cruel intentions, before raping her, conveying the brutalization of the act, which strangely the camera doesn’t capture all the anguish from Oldenburg’s face as she suffers through the degradation. Jim’s ultimate goal is to have a sex slave, who does what he wants, when and how, hence the scenes start a repeat of her becoming a piece of meat, a pure object of his sinister desire, while surrounded with grime and dirt. Somehow the style of the feel, doesn’t want one to care about Emma, she’s at times treated more as set design than a person, while the focus stays on Jim, but never goes past his surface. Of course, as customary with the brand of film, Emma, must lose her self-worth and become devoid of any civility to escape the pain.
Sadly, no unique twists exist, and the characters of Jim and Emma, share the screen for a majority of film, which moves at a fine pace, and properly edited, surprisingly fresh on little female nudity, though overall conceptual design strives for a 70s feel on screen. This tries to work, to cover up the lack of plot, and scattered scenes of torture, it appears if the filmmakers strive to overlook the intent, mainly the ‘why’. Using the title Animalistic, with slick artwork cover sounds good, but the problem is people are generally more capable of savage intent and actions, the sadistic nature, a form of delayed gratification, while in animals the desire becomes a natural, with no hidden meanings, i.e. hungry = feed, hence instinctive. The characters all contain agendas, motives, and reasoning to achieve their goals regardless of their appearance. One important trivial note Nordenskjold passed away in late 2014, from cancer before ever seeing a final cut of this movie.
One needs an understanding of the rape-and-revenge flicks, first the appeal to viewers, highly limited, as they contain multiple scenes not easy to watch, hence the story-line needs streamline precision, some sort of character defining, in order to make for a compelling flick, without it the entire production is a thoroughly ineffective moving tale. When viewing these films the two stand bearers of rape-revenge common reference I Spit on Your Grave (1978) and Last House on the Left (1972), however movies transcend the 70s exploitation genre, with Teeth (2007), most recently M.F.A. (2017) and Revenge (2017) the last two told through the lens of women directors, perhaps giving the best look of this type of sub-genre cinema.
The overall film, is definitely directed to a limited scope of fans of the exploitation market, not those of the torture-porn as the film goes through a brisk pace, however never creating a story, most the of the explicit scenes presented are more as a shock-value, rather than a genuine horror movie.
IMDb Rating: 3.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.0/10