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The Animal

by Final Title Productions

Elma Thain is living a normal life in Wellington, until she hears about the rampant serial killer, The Animal.


Beautifully shot, awesome use of a "second unit" (presumably??), visually distinctive and a twist ending. We loved livestreaming this in the heats but [spoiler] we think it probably should have had an animal in it! Impressive work from a new team.

There were some nice things to this film; letting us get to know the characters, and getting out and about to give the film a sense of scope around Wellington. Line delivery was naturalistic and edit was really good.

But I felt that to elevate you could have worked on your grade a bit more in the cafe in particular where the image did come across a bit flat in my opinion (not to mention seeing camera crew in the glass reflection of the window), and the twist was one we've seen done in 48 countless times before.

The match cut was particularly nice I must say and using the neighbour as a reunion rather than shoehorned in worked well for driving the narrative about making us aware there was a serial killer on the loose in the capital.

The strength of this film is in the second half. The night sequence was particularly effective - well shot, edited and acted with an effective soundscape that nicely put us on edge. Before that, the café scene was a bit awkward and the speed at which the former neighbour starts going into a conversation about a possible serial killer was more convenient than natural - "Anyway, have you heard about this whole serial killer, animal thing?" We actually already had because the radio news report had just given us the details! But could our past neighbour be the killer? Likewise the scene in the office wasn't really needed apart from giving us a creepy acting and sounding male boss stereotype - could he be the killer? I would have liked more outside, in the dark, as after all the set-up, the twist ending comes all a bit too quick.

The thing is that this is a really well made film but it just doesn't really have much story to it and at just over 3-minutes it feels short of a few interesting character moments that would have really help land the ending.

Your smash cut to the reveal was the masterstroke of this film. There is something so simple about everything here, not a lot of shots, not a lot of plot either. The shot of Elly walking out of the office, there's just something about it that's almost preposterously understated, as if she's going to react to the classic 'you be safe out there girl' but she just... doesn't. I honestly like this film quite a bit but you've got to feed the people a little more sugar these days, don't you?

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