Thursday 5 October 2023

REVIEW: My Animal (2023) - Starring Bobbi Salvör Menuez and Amandla Stenberg

Review by Jon Donnis
"My Animal," directed by Jacqueline Castel, presents a blend of supernatural horror, romance, and the struggles of teenage life in a small northern town. The film, while not without its merits, ultimately falls short due to its plot execution, uneven acting performances, and a lack of genuine horror elements.

The plot revolves around Heather, an aspiring goalie in a hockey-obsessed town, grappling with her tumultuous relationship with her alcoholic mother, Patti. Heather's budding romance with newcomer Jonny, a tormented figure skater, forms a central aspect of the story. Their relationship unfolds amidst the challenges of Heather's hidden sexual orientation and a familial curse that transforms her into a feral wolf under the full moon.

The strongest aspects of "My Animal" lie in its depiction of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in small, close-knit communities. The film offers a perceptive exploration of coming out in an intolerant environment, portraying the struggles and joys of young love. The chemistry between the lead actors, Bobbi Salvör Menuez as Heather and Amandla Stenberg as Jonny, adds depth to their characters and evokes a familiar experience for LGBTQ+ viewers I am sure.

However, the film falters in its attempt to present an edgy werewolf narrative. The plot feels clumsy, predictable, and uninspiring, lacking the tension and fear expected in a horror movie. The acting performances vary in quality, with moments of brilliance offset by inconsistent portrayals. The film's overall style and direction compensate for the weak plot, offering a visually engaging experience.

In conclusion, "My Animal" offers a unique blend of themes and styles, touching upon the struggles of coming out and navigating teenage love in a harsh, small-town setting. Despite its shortcomings in plot execution and horror elements, the film's direction and chemistry between the lead actors make it worth a watch, particularly for those seeking LGBTQ+ representation in cinema.

I score My Animal a fair 5 out of 10. Not for me, but maybe if you are part of the alphabet community, this might be a film you can enjoy.

Out Now on Digital