Feb 9, 2019
The 400th Episode celebration week is coming to a close, with the return of our good friend Shane Hyde. He’s fully recovered from his trip to the Fyre Festival, although he seems awfully obsessed with the footage. As promised, we gave him a home assignment, although it’s for a different kind of house. Check out his previous reviews for “Event Horizon” (Episode #254), “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (Episode #322), and the aforementioned “Fyre” (Episode #398).
Shane, hit me with a one-liner!
Shane: “It’s like Drop Dead Fred, only serious!”
All right. Works for me. Take it away, Shane!
Kia ora, I’m Shane Hyde. I keep watching movies and can’t seem to stop talking about them – so here I am; back again for this week’s review of “Ánimas”. I’m a fan of foreign horror movies so when I saw this one come up for review I raised a hand. And it’s good, surprisingly so.
“Ánimas” (2018), a Netflix original, is a fascinating film about the relationship between two characters and how their relationship changes over the course of the film and because it’s in the synopsis there are visions and weird shit going on...
And crikey, I can't spoil this film so I'll talk around it and
less about what's going on in the film - because you want to go
into this one pretty unaware of it. And I mean it, it’s best to not
even watch the trailer. So be warned.
I distinctly recall my first thought at seeing the first green-tinged frame of “Ánimas”, and that was this was going to be a moody film. And it was, and it keeps it up much all the way throughout the film. There is a stoplight motif to the colours and use of colours; green when it's safe, red when it’s less so. And there’s interplay of the lighting and the cinematography. A character walking from a green place to an amber or red place is going into danger, and vice versa. Each scene is bathed in this light and you'll find yourself responding to it in kind as you watch. And the sets and the costumes suggested a little “Matrix” influence which ties in a little into the theme of the movie in itself and I MUST NOT say any more on that.
“Ánimas” is well acted (and I'm going to have a go at these names coming up) with Alex (Clare Durant) putting in a striking turn opposite Ivan Pellicer’s Bram (GOT IT!). And it’s around both of these that the film revolves. The script is good, not strong, but good in the first act and weakens somewhat in the third. And then, there are those lazy moments of exposition: character reads the right sentence from book that alludes at what is going on right now. But aside from picking that nit, “Ánimas” is actually quite an enjoyable horror/thriller and fans of either genre won't be disappointed.
“Ánimas” is directed by Laura Alvea and Jose F. Ortuno (who wrote the novel on which the film is based). I'm unfamiliar with either of their works but I'd be interested in looking out for more, particularly if their works have the layers that are present throughout “Ánimas”. And I’m going to make one final comment about platform, rather than the movie itself. Animas apparently has a mid-credit scene. As it's platformed on Netflix with the service's rapid leap to recommending the next film, well, I missed it, and I haven’t gone back out to check out what it was. So, yeah, just be aware. There’s that.
And so in summary, “Ánimas” is a nice, tidy, wee horror/thriller that manages a lot with its M rating. This isn’t filled with buckets of blood and crazed slashers, but injects horror into what is really quite an innocent relationship.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
One Movie Punch: 6.5/10
“Ánimas” is currently rated M and is streaming on Netflix.