When Animals Dream (2014)
Scandinavian horror is no longer an insider’s tip; not since the Swedish film Let the Right One In became an instant cult classic, even prompting a U.S. remake only two years later. Danish director Jonas Alexander Arnby’s When Animals Dream is very similar in its aesthetic and theme, and it does a great job at creating a gloomy atmosphere: with rugged but beautiful landscapes, very little dialogue, and a stoic lead actress.
Without giving too much away, the movie proceeds in a similar fashion to other body horror films: the young protagonist discovers physical changes that soon lead to supernatural strengths and animalistic instincts. One is reminded of Cat People, which is equally slow-burning and also uses the leading lady’s physical transformation to tell the story of the painful awakening of female sexuality.
So far, so interesting. That said, if you are looking for a particularly frightening or disturbing movie, this isn’t it. When Animals Dream certainly has its moments, but the dialogue and story are not exceptionally crafty or original, so as to inspire a deeper involvement with the material. It is, by and large, a genre film that tries hard to be more than that, and in doing so makes for a pleasant, but ultimately unsatisfying, viewing experience.