Saturday, October 15, 2016

Seventh Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Serives #8: When Animals Dream

When Animals Dream, a Danish import (with English subtitles), is an atmospheric take on a female-centric monster movie.  It is quiet, beautiful and dreamy, all pale colors and cold temperatures.

Marie is a solitary late teenager, out of school but still living at home in a tiny Danish fishing village.  She helps her father take care of her invalid mother - heavily sedated and stuck in a wheelchair - and starts a new job at a fish-packing plant.  She goes to the local doctor when she finds strange new patches of hair on her body.  Later, she catches her father shaving her mother's furry back and starts making the connections.  Her mother is kept heavily drugged to repress her aggression and transmutation.  It's genetic.  And the townspeople know this: they insist on Marie's mother's sedation and at her new job, Marie's coworkers harass her terribly.  After a night on the town, when Marie ends up having sex with one of the few friendly guys at work, her father and the doctor corner her in her room, trying to forcibly sedate her, to push the transmutation back into remission.  But Marie has had enough.  Her nature is to wolf out and she's not going to deny it any longer.

I've read some reviews comparing When Animals Dream to the original Let the Right One In (Scandinavian vampire movie with a sympathetic female lead) and the Ginger Snaps movies (Canadian werewolf movies with sympathetic female leads), and it definitely has some similarities.  When Animals Dream is much quieter than those movies however, barely springing into any action or violence, showing utmost restraint with the gnashing and rending and bleeding.  I liked it because it felt like a smarter movie than much of what I've seen recently, and it definitely falls into the Under the Skin category of atmospheric, barely-horrific horror movies.
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