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31 Days of Halloween

[FAFF] ‘Anonymous Animals’ review: Powerful message delivered in avant-garde film will split audiences

Role reversal.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

Anonymous Animals is one of the more interesting movies playing at the Frightening Ass Film Fest. The premise is always a fun one – animals and humans have switched places on the food chain. Even more intriguing are some of the production decisions. The very definition of avant-garde, the film will mystify audiences for better and worse.

There is very little dialogue in the movie. There are cries, neighs, and the sounds of struggle, but it is a nearly wordless feature. It is almost as if what the humans have to say is irreleant. Anonymous Animals is able to pull this off thanks to the high degree of suspense. The story is about conveying emotion and writer director Baptiste Rouveure does so perfectly. 

As well as it is done, this means character development is sacrificed. The humans are there to be scared victims and little else. This feeds into the premise of the movie. Humans do not become too attached to animals before butchering them, after all. Anonymous Animals is trying to make its audience feel empathy for the creatures. The message comes across, but for some the impact will not be there. 

Anonymous Animals is one giant allegory. Settings are bleak and the fear is palatable. There is an oppressive air that permeates the entire movie. Even more unsettling is how it seems like it is just a regular day. The trade off is there is little explanation. The movie asks audiences to accept its metaphor at face value. There is no backstory and even the horror is minimal. Anonymous Animals is more unsettling than scary. It points a mirror at the audience and tells them to look at the ugliest parts. The questions becomes, who wants to look?

Anonymous Animals is playing at the virtual Frightening Ass Film Fest. Badges ($25 gives access to everything!) available here.

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