Aside from “pass” I almost don’t even know what to say, but since I’ve now seen this twice I’m sure I can think of something. Let’s see…the first time it was mostly a dull, ineffective, and far too obvious take on a creepy camp with a bloody past featuring a cast of characters ranging from nefarious moustache twirlers to complete dipshits. The second viewing was more of an unpleasant & lame slog as I couldn’t even hope it’d improve, stick the landing, or otherwise be somehow worthwhile since I already knew what was in store. I won’t be watching Animal Among Us a third time, if that’s not clear.

The Merrymaker Campgrounds has been closed ever since the tragic unsolved killings of a couple teens 15 years ago, but Anita Bishop (Larisa Oleynik) and her sister Poppy (Christine Donlon) are about to change that with a grand re-opening. Roland Baumgarner (Christian Oliver), having written a successful novel about the long ago murders, gets wind of the Merrymaker news and decides to head out to the campgrounds–ignoring advice from his pregnant wife (Erin Daniels) to leave it alone. Anita’s busy dealing with an amateur sleuthing busybody (Jonathan Murphy), a frightened young woman (Whitney Davis) who swears she saw *something* in the woods, and gruff local Burl Wolf (Don Frye) her sister calls for assistance so the visiting Roland is far down Anita’s list of concerns. Between an increase of things going bump in the night and bizarre, unexplainable attacks Roland & Anita find they perhaps have bitten off more than they can chew…

Why watch Animal Among Us two times when I didn’t care for it after the first viewing, you ask? Well, the first one was a while ago for my own personal amusement as I’m always on the lookout for a good creature feature and the second was a refresher for this very review. I’ll do my best to recall the first experience when I was fresh and the sky was the limit instead of this time, where everything managed to be worse with the knowledge of what’s to come. I’m trying to be vague, if you couldn’t tell, as so little of consequence occurs until the last half hour when some poorly executed developments take place that manage to make everything even more inert.

After that first viewing I remember being underwhelmed and unimpressed with pretty much the whole thing, mainly due to several on-the-nose choices that shove where the story’s going in the viewer’s face before it gets there. If the performers and director had a better script to work with Animal Among Us could have been a pretty solid low-budget creature feature, but sadly everyone on screen is stuck in the screenplay’s muck. Anyway, as for who might enjoy this even if it’s not for me? I’d say if you go in expecting a ho-hum, very low-key tale of creepy campground happenings you might be *mildly* amused. Don’t expect a creature feature, though, as the animal among them isn’t exactly prominently featured.

 

4 out of 10 Uninteresting Campgrounds

Animal Among Us
RATING: NR
Runtime: 1 Hr. 30 Mins.
Directed By:
Written By: Jonathan Murphy