What should be expected of a film coming from the director of The VelociPastor? Wait, what? This is an actual film? I must check this out just from morbid curiosity. But that is not what we are here to discuss. Director Brandon Steere started back in 2013 with a strange and mysterious horror/thriller called Animosity, which is now getting a release wide on VOD (8 years later). I am not sure how many of you reading this got the opportunity to give this one a chance then…but will you be now?
The bigger question her is should you be giving this nearly two-hour horror mystery a try? Let us start things off on a more positive note…there is potential here. You can see that Steere has promise as a director. There are a few sequences in this film that legitimately build tension and are quite haunting. Steere channels his inner Raimi for an eerie late-night rendition of what forests should look like in a horror film (all the fog and creepy lighting you could ever want). This brief scene (which is freaky enough) is followed up with a scene that might be the best in the film. Our protagonist, Carrie (Tracey Willet who gives by far the best performance in the film), must navigate her home in the dark of night…avoiding the husband who is more than he seems. The framing, shadow, and staging of the scene is top-notch while building some tangible tension.
Unfortunately, the scene ends with a fun venture onto the computer to find some “secret” files on a “secret” folder that is filled with all the exposition you could want. Why do people always find themselves looking stuff up on computers in horror films? Those are the wonderful cliches that this film is full of. The writing is the real reason why that potential mention earlier never comes to pass. This is a mysterious and interesting concept…that is revealed WAY too early leading to the second half of this film predictable and boring. At the point of the reveal, you will know exactly how the rest of the film will go. Where is the fun in that? But what is worst is that this is half of the film leading to a glacial pace and making this nearing two-hour film hard to march through.
You could just leave the bad writing with the plot…but how are the characters? Not great. None of the characters are interesting in the least and some are just poorly rendered to begin with. The neighbor is a crazy, violent mess who has no logic to his actions. Carrie’s husband is too oblivious to really work as a real person. To be frank, nearly all the characters feel like stick figures come-to-life. They have no depth or substance so when some of them inevitably become cannon fodder, who cares?
Let us circle back…should you give Animosity a shot on VOD? If you REALLY love horror film, enjoy the creepy ad mysterious beats this film has to offer. Like I said earlier, this film has the potential to be interesting. Unfortunately, it blows the reveal too early and decides to take an agonizingly slow build to the resolution. I hopped off along the way.