MY ANIMAL Is Layered In Human Emotions And More Than Just Another Horror Film.

By Chris Hammond


Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Amandla Stenberg, Heidi von Palleske, Cory Lipman, Charlie & Harrison Halpenny, Joe Apollonio, Scott Thompson, Dean McDermott and Stephen McHattie 

Written by:

Jae Matthews

Directed by:

Jacqueline Castel 

Produced by:

Andrew Bronfman, Michael Solomon


Paramount Global Content Distribution

MY ANIMAL follows the story of an awkward outsider hockey goalie Heather(Bobbi Salvör Menuez). She’s a teenager who meets figure skater Jonny (Amandla Stenberg) while out at the rink one day. A family curse restricts Heather’s social life and keeps her in a secluded house away from prying eyes.

Jacqueline Castel directs a sophistical tale in MY ANIMAL that deals with self-discovery and love. There are many different factors including sexuality, identity and social stigmas. The two leads in Heather (Bobbi Salvör Menuez) and Jonny (Amandla Stenberg) do well in projecting their affection for each other on screen. The sex scenes are handled sensually and not convoluted or gratuitous.

This is definitely not a story that everyone will embrace, but it’s a story that deserves to be. Castel has a great grasp of telling it respectfully. My only issue is the film is a very slow burn and sometimes feels longer than it needed to be.

The creature aspect isn’t really explored until the third act. Heather’s transformation is shown through colours and visions. It goes hand and hand with her transformation into adulthood and discovering love, not through physically changing on the screen. There are some instances where the audience does get to see what exactly the “animal within” actually is, but this takes a backseat to the more human aspects of the film.

MY ANIMAL has a techno-laced score by director and composer Augustus Muller. This works superbly and adds more atmosphere to the on-screen performances.

It was also a treat seeing The Kids in the Hall Scott Thompson show up in a small part as Jonny’s dad.

Overall, MY ANIMAL is more human than human in its story. Sometimes it feels dragging, but the acting, directing, and score help to forgive the slow parts. It is refreshing to see a different take on what could have been just another creature feature.

In Select Theaters September 8, 2023, and On Digital September 15, 2023

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