Every year at the Fantasy Film Festival you can enjoy many horror, sci-fi and thriller films. But many other genres also find their place. During the festival, MeinMMO author Nikolas Hernes was able to watch a film that impressed him despite the bizarre premise.
What film is it? The French film The Animal Kingdom, which will be called Animalia in German, was represented at the Fantasy Filmfest 2023. The premise sounds bizarre at first. Due to an unknown disease, people suddenly turn into animals.
They slowly mutate into an animal and lose more and more of their humanity as the disease progresses. The focus of the story is François and his son Émile. Émile’s mother also suffers from the disease and should actually be cared for in a medical center in the French countryside.
But she disappears in an accident while transporting a patient, and François does everything he can to find her again. Meanwhile, Émile is at a new school and has to find his way there in addition to the problems with his mother.
You can see a French trailer for the film here:
A film full of emotional themes
Despite the sci-fi premise, The Animal Kingdom is a quiet and emotional film that primarily focuses on the father-son relationship of François and Émile. And here you have to give a lot of praise.
The two actors Romain Duris and Paul Kircher have wonderful chemistry together. Whether they laugh, cry or fight each other, everything always seems authentic and is fantastically acted. But Paul Kircher alone also impresses with his skills and you feel for him every minute.
The real illness is in The Animal Kingdom, a setting that tells many coming-of-age themes. One’s own puberty and growing out and rebelling from parental structures are shown here as cliché-free as they are effective.
Émile is not just a rebellious teenager who constantly screams at his father. The many moments of crisis are balanced by funny and emotional scenes that have always touched me personally.
You understand both sides, and François, who just wants to protect his son and keep his family together, is authentic and comprehensible. The themes of social exclusion, acceptance and a violent society are wonderfully woven into this personal story.
You can find more science fiction films in this list:
The 13 Best Science Fiction Movies According to IMDb
Great costumes and effects
In addition to the acting and written performance, the costumes of the animal-human hybrids are a real highlight. Practical effects were used here, which makes many of the costumes look great. There’s hardly any CGI crap that ruins the immersion.
And the concepts of the various mutated people are also exciting, and there are little body horror moments that never degenerate into real horror or horror. A quiet film with such a premise and setting is a good change.
As a fan of such premise, I was incredibly impressed by how emotional the film really is. The father-son relationship gripped me throughout the film, and the different costumes were a little highlight. I can only recommend everyone to give the film a chance and believe that it is really worth it if it is released regularly.
The film is expected to be released in Germany in January 2024 under the title Animalia.
If you like really hard horror, we have another list for you:
5 horror films for 18+ that are not for the faint of heart