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Animal Among Us

At Erebus Horror we all love a good creature feature! They tend to be fun, gory and allow upcoming filmmakers to show their mettle. Sometimes the creature doesn’t play the pivotal role, as seen in our review of ‘Monstrous’. Other times, it’s not actually a ‘creature’ at all! But with all instances, the movie can be hugely enjoyable providing it’s got a good storyline, stellar acting and effective use of budget. So where does Animal Among Us sit? Let’s find out!

Synopsis

Christian Oliver (“Sense8”, House of Good & Evil) and Larisa Oleynik (“Mad Men”, 10 Things I Hate About You) come face to face with hirsute terror in John Woodruff’s highly-anticipated horror throwback, Animal Among Us.

Fifteen years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed as an animal attack, the camp was condemned, and the killer never found. But something horrific still waits in those woods, ready to kill again.

Also starring Don Frye, Christine Donlon, Jonathan Murphy, Erin Daniels, Heather Tom, Jasmine Dustin, and Whitney Davis.

Animal Among Us

Cited as ‘Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers’, the movie opens with a distressed woman covered in blood and with no indication as to what’s happened. This then cuts to Oleynik in her role as ranger Anita. She drives into the Merrymaker Camp unaware she is being watched. From the creature’s POV we see her depart, before it raises a clawed hand in all its beautiful, b-movie goodness. The tone is set and the movie certainly doesn’t disappoint!

Review

So lets talk about the acting. Animal Among Us is perfectly cast with an array of talent who all give an outstanding performance. Each took their role to a whole new level. Anita’s driven and ambitious character is a stark contrast to sister Poppy’s (Donlon) cautious, yet seductive manner. Then we’ve got the suave, self-righteous Roland (Oliver) and tough, cigar-chomping Burl (Frye). Throw in a bit of humour courtesy of Jonathan Murphy’s character and you’ve got an exceptional lineup!

Animal Among Us

Now, storyline. It is a pretty good story. It’s well thought out and has a number of twists and turns along the way that keeps it from going stale. The only problem is the creature. I’m not going to give anything away, but what I will say is that the movie does risk disappointing a lot of monster enthusiasts who go into this hoping to see a ‘traditional’ creature-feature. However, does the unconventional approach take anything away from the movie? I wouldn’t say so. What I would say is selling the movie under the phrase ‘Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers’ is a bit misleading. I can kind of see Friday the 13th link (at a stretch) in that its set at a campsite… But Dog Soldiers? I have no idea where that link is.

Written by Jonathan Murphy. Produced by Murphy and Woodruff. Animal Among Us is available free and exclusive on Tubi from Uncork’d Entertainment

What do you think of the movie? Like the sound of it? Seen it already? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in the comments below!

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The Candy Witch

There’s something about urban legends that tends to resonate with the masses. Whether this be the mystery, intrigue or the peril they usually portray, many of these chilling tales of folklore have been around for generations. Some have regional variations, whilst others are a mosaic of legends; bits and pieces of different stories brought together to show a terrifying new image. The Candy Witch seems to fall into this category.

With a tagline of ‘Sweet dreams… forever!’ The synopsis states;

Two ghost hunters are called upon by a distressed family who claim they are being tormented by an evil spirit known in their local town as The Candy Witch. But as the mystery of her curse is uncovered, surprising and sinister turns are discovered around The Candy Witch’s identity. Their hardest case yet, can they solve this evil curse before more people are killed by the demonic spirit?

The Candy Witch

Now before we go into the review let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, there are a number of similarities with Candyman, the biggest being the Candy Witch’s hook-like weapon of choice; a sharpened candy cane (ingenious right?) And also a few other themes from popular culture (turning lights on/off which conceals/reveals the spirit for example) However, as mentioned previously, some of the best urban legends are a mishmash of horror tales. Whilst The Candy Witch adopts a number of these traits, it doesn’t lose its individuality in terms of storyline, location and unique delivery.

The movie itself starts out strongly. There’s a brief introduction to the turmoil of the O’Neil family, followed by a bit of a prelude which introduces ghost hunters Reece (Jon Callaway) and Kat (Abi Casson Thompson). The prelude in particular provides us with some great visual effects which sets the standard for the rest of the movie.

Liar

In terms of acting, The Candy Witch is comprised of a stellar cast who all bring a unique aspect to the movie. Admittedly, there are a few shaky performances here and there, but overall it was very good. Whilst Callaway plays a decent part he doesn’t really dominate the screen in a lead role, but he is supported by a convincing performance from Thompson. However, the accolade for acting performance has to go to The Candy Witch herself (Kate Lush). Whilst there isn’t a great deal of speech on her part, Lush brings the character to life through expression, mannerisms and good old fashioned jump scares (helped tremendously by the amazing cinematography)

The only critique I have is the number of Americanisms adopted throughout the movie. I get that the director is trying to appeal to the US market, but it feels to have sacrificed a level of authenticity in doing so, with the majority of the movie being set in Surrey, England. If some of these were dropped (as well as the questionable American accents that popped up every now and then…) I feel the movie would sell just as good, if not better. However, saying that, I completely understand the reasoning behind the ‘Candy’ Witch as the ‘Sweet’ Witch (as most Brits would call it) doesn’t have the same effect!

The Candy Witch

Overall though The Candy Witch is a fun, compelling splatterfest filled with inventive confectionary-related kills. I thought it was a great film and a great premise for an antagonist. I feel if there was extra work done to give the Candy Witch more of an initial, impactive scare, it could easily pave the way for a new horror icon.

From writer-director Rebecca J.Matthews (Pet Graveyard), and starring Kate Lush, Abi Casson Thompson, Heather Jackson and Richard D Myers, The Candy Witch serves up sweet death June 9 on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment. Check out the trailer below!

You can check out the IMDB link here

Enjoyed our review? Check out more here