ANIMALISTIC (a.k.a. We Are Monsters) ** Sweden 2015 Dir: Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund. 78 mins
A rape-revenge movie from the co-directors of WITHER and PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH. Unsympathetic wealthy-white-woman-in-peril Hannah Oldenburg, an Australian ambassador about to sign a controversial contract with a prominent oil company, is captured via an unmarked taxi and becomes the latest captive of prolific murderer Ralf Beck. He claims a body count of 83 and has no interest in Oldenburg’s prestige or celebrity – he just wants to use, abuse and kill her. A gruelling first half involves enforced cunnilingus and sodomy while the audience gets to witness Beck – who has a family of his own-making small talk about the Red Sox in a bar when he’s not striving to show his physical power against his latest, resilient victim.
Beck has real presence on screen, and his interaction with Oldenburg is compelling up to a point as she belittles him about his body odour, small dick and sexuality – and all he has in return are predictable misogynistic slurs (“bitch”, “whore”, “cunt”) and physical violence. Inevitably, the tables are turned and he descends from a position of power to one of weakness, though, despite the graphic brutality of the build-up, this shirks from showing on-screen the one thing we have been waiting for. There is splashy employment of farm equipment, but Oldenburg is a blank canvas – and with no one to root for, it hardly seems worth enduring a particularly unpleasant stretch of violation and torture.
Review by Steven West