Live Animals (2008)

Starring: John Still, Christian Walker, Jeanette Comans, Stacy Still and Patrick Cox

Directed by Jeremy Benson

Format: 4 Films Collector’s Set DVD

“Explosive, grisly and gutsy filmmaking, Live Animals is a twisted descent into Hell on Earth.  After a group of young adults are kidnapped and tortured, their attempt to escape leads to even more gruesome and deadly consequences.”

My Story:

Featured in an earlier episode of The Loot, I decided to bust out my second collector’s set of horror movies.  I actually had a lot of fun watching those other four, even if they weren’t great.  Here, however, I more than likely won’t write about all four consecutively.  THAT was a painful process.  But we’ll go ahead and start out with some Live Animals.  Open the barn doors for this one, it sounds like it’s gonna be something for the “torture porn” generation.

My Thoughts:

  • The setting is reminding me of Salvage a little bit.  Out in the country, a poorer looking community. You know, the usual.
  • “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone.” HA, alright.
  • Uh oh, creepy fellow taking pictures of the “young adults” at a bonfire. They look a little older than young adults, I must say.
  • Tranquilizer gun! Oh boy.
  • Stuffed badger? Well that’s odd.
  • That kid is dumb, who leaves their cell phone behind in a horror movie? Doesn’t he know any better?
  • And this girl is pulling her pants up while walking up stairs.  I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, they seem a little drunk.
  • I still have yet to find out who any of these characters are…
  • How did this girl run upstairs, then back down a different set of stairs? The house can’t be that big.
  • The guy just jacked up the kidnapper with a mounted deer head! Too bad it didn’t work out well.
  • Of course the boat motor doesn’t start in order to escape.
  • Ahhhh, the contemplative itching of the head with the gun.
  • Girl, STOP hyperventilating underneath the dock. He’s standing right above you and you were silent when he was further away.
  • A harvest moon, eh? I bet that has something to do with the kidnapping, and the title of Live Animals.
  • Anytime I say “I bet” it’s never right.
  • Oh my god, the makeup around that woman’s eyes make her look like a raccoon.  And I don’t mean normal “raccoon eyes.” I mean the makeup was horrible.
  • Why is this farmer so disgruntled, and why does he feel it’s a good idea to kidnap teenagers and keep them as animals? Excuse me, “young adults.”
  • That girl’s eye makeup is gone all of a sudden…
  • The boy with no tongue shouldn’t be freaking out face down in hay, his mouth will become infected.
  • The farmer’s helper Edgar has an even worse makeup job.
  • There’s a crazy woman named Kathy in the other horse stall!
  • Alright, so the main young adult’s name is Nick, got it. The boy with no tongue is Josh.
  • “Cat’s got your tongue?” Guess who that line was addressed to.
  • Raccoon Eyes is back, and why is Crazy Kathy singing “Little Bunny FooFoo?” This movie is pretty nonsensical.
  • Some serious Jaguar product placement.
  • The farmer reminds me of Otis from The Devil’s Rejects and Rick from “Pawn Stars.”
  • …I was hoping this all wasn’t about human trafficking.
  • Why do they keep cutting out the audio from the characters and covering it with music? It doesn’t make it any more emotional, it’s just stupid because this movie is trying way too hard to execute something it can’t.  Or maybe it is accomplishing what it needs to, and I just hate what that is.
  • Kathy best stop singing nursery rhymes because 1) it’s annoying and 2) it’s stupid and 3) there’s no reason behind it.
  • Nick isn’t seriously going to yank the chain off of the wall. Come on. It’s a CHAIN that is BOLTED to the wall.
  • I don’t know why these farmers are taking care of the actually farmland, it’s not like they have other animals.
  • That family looking for directions just got WRECKED by Edgar. What a big doofus.
  • Kathy’s a tattletale.
  • I don’t understand how Nick got Edgar’s keys…this isn’t making sense.
  • Straight up stabbed with a crowbar.
  • Uh oh, the Farmer is back…
  • Nick, did you NOT think the Farmer would have any sort of weapon on him?
  • Don’t take Kathy with you guys, that’s STUPID.
  • If the phone is broken in half…it more than likely won’t work.
  • Hey now, girl in a box? That’s not cool.
  • Nick got stabbed, beaten up, and shot with a bird shot. And now a finger chopped off! He’s a hurtin’ unit right now.
  • Aw yeah, let’s see how much blood we can splatter. Totally RaDiCaL. wHoA.
  • Yeah Nick, your sister Erin isn’t around anymore. Shucks.
  • I feel like if I just accomplished my mission and had blood all over my face, the first thing I would do is wipe it off.  Especially if it isn’t yours.

The Verdict:

I find myself hating “torture porn,” even as an avid horror fan.  I shouldn’t use “hating” but I really haven’t found much that I like about it.  I even hate the term. Torture porn is a movie that involves torture as a main plot device, but also the appeal of nudity in order to gain a bigger crowd (as I think of it).  Torture porn is the new horror sexploitation. And as far as I can see, it’s all the same plot.  People get kidnapped, those people get tortured/killed for some sick reason, the last survivors escape, and then a final showdown in which there is a twist somewhere. That is Live Animals. But the reason I dislike this film even more is because there was NOTHING in the story that was well established besides the place in which these kids were being tortured.  No character development, no back story, the introduction then disappearance of some characters for no reason, and a really lame twist.  I didn’t know half of the kids names or how they even knew each other.

I can look at a movie like Hostel and saw that it is a great movie of that genre.  Regardless of if I like it or not, I can say it did what it was supposed to do, and it did it well.  On the other side of the coin, I look at something like Captivity and now Live Animals and can see that “torture porn” can rarely, if at all, be done elegantly.

Anyways, I didn’t really enjoy the movie.  I thought the idea could’ve been interesting if the film didn’t try SO hard to push some limit or something. Because it was a scary idea, but that doesn’t mean it has to be this vile product.  But hey, some people thoroughly enjoy this kind of film. The film had potential and made me think back to films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre at times, but it really pushed to make it something vulgar. And it did, but the least it could’ve done was to be good and vulgar. If that makes sense.


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