When Animals Dream

When Animals Dream ★★★★

There is something about the Scandinavian scenery that just makes it perfect for horror, and When Animals Dream utilises its setting's natural eerieness to great effect.

Taking its visual cues from modern Scandi-noir, and filtering its horror through the existential lens of Bergman and the coming of age feel of Let the Right One In, Jonas Alexander Arnby's film is a low-key somber werewolf tale.

Young Marie is becoming aware of her sexuality, and is also developing a rash accompanied by thick, dark hair. This appears to have some link with her mother's (Sonia Richter) debilitating, paralysing illness. Above this, there seems to be some unspoken collusion between her father (Lars Mikkelson) and the family doctor.

It is a sweet and lyrical tale with a great turn from Sonia Suhl as Marie, that allows its horror to develop slowly. My ex, with whom I saw the film (we're cool like that) also made the very cogent comparison with Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves, both in its themes of male control over women's bodies and the sinister hidden nature of a small community.

It is beautifully acted has a haunting and bleak beauty, and is a rich and deep experience. Perhaps not your average crowd-pleasing festival flick, this is nontheless a really rather excellent little film.

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