Described as Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers, Uncork'd Entertainment's Animal Among Us might be the most bizarre sasquatch-horror movie you'll ever see. Directed by John Woodruff using a screenplay by Jonathan Murphy, Animal Among Us is filled with nods to classic horror movies from the '70s and '80s. This makes watching the movie a fun experience for old school horror fans, but as it's not a straight-up gorefest like some of those classic slasher films. To be clear, while it contains elements of slasher movies and Bigfoot horror, Animal Among Us is not really either of those types of movies, as it tells an intriguing story without an abundance of blood.
Christian Oliver (Sense8) stars in Animal Among Us as Roland Baumgarner, an author who penned a book called The Merrymaker Murderer. The best-selling book was about the actual murders of two young girls fifteen years prior by an unknown killer at the Merrymaker Campgrounds. Alleged sasquatch sightings in the area cause some to believe a Bigfoot-type creature is behind the killings, leading to curious sasquatch-hunters showing up with video cameras to investigate. When Roland receives a fan letter asking him to appear at the reopening of the campgrounds, he finds himself ready to experience first-hand what he wrote about in his book.
Also starring in the movie are Larisa Oleynik (Mad Men) and Christine Donlon (Femme Fatales) as Anita and Penelope Bishop - two park rangers who claim they have full legal jurisdiction with no police station around for many miles. Don Frye (The Diggers) also stars as their stepfather with the most peculiar name, Burl Wolf. For Roland, it's clear from the start something very strange is happening at the Merrymaker Campgrounds, and that's even more apparent when Bigfoot enthusiasts emerge bloodied from the woods with stories of being attacked by a large woodland-creature. Someone or something is definitely attacking people nearby, and it appears that the Bishops and Burl know more than what they're telling Roland. And things only get crazier as he gets closer and closer to the truth.
Certainly, the movie's cast really add a lot to the viewing experience, as they do a fantastic job bringing these fun characters to life. With a good balance between the horror and comedy elements, the acting is serious when it needs to be, though most everyone has their highly-amusing moments as well. Where Animal Among Us also particularly shines is with its compelling story, as finding out where the story is going keeps the excitement high from scene to scene. The story takes many unexpected turns as it progresses towards the end, capping off with slightly bizarre but ultimately satisfying ending, touching on the multiple subplots introduced in the story in one hard-hitting way.
Although he's worked as an actor for many years and has helmed a handful of short films, this is director John Woodruff's feature film debut. I'm finding myself already curious to see what comes next from the horror filmmaker based on my enjoyment of Animal Among Us. Tons of fun with an excellent cast and an interesting story, the movie is definitely worth checking out. Animal Among Us is available on DVD and VOD on Nov. 19, courtesy of Uncork'd Entertainment.