Anonymous Animals is a 2020 French horror feature film in which human captives are literally treated like animals by humanoid figures with animal heads – who or what exactly are these people?
Directed by Baptiste Rouveure, the movie stars Pauline Guilpain, Emilien Lavaut, Thierry Marcos and Aurelia Schikarski.
“Scenes are short and abruptly cut, and the contrast between the cruelty meted out to the humans, with the film’s beautiful and mournful French countryside setting, as well as its dialogue-free approach (the ‘manimals’ grunt but the humans remain silent throughout) further unseats the viewer. Anonymous Animals’s point is made pretty bluntly and relentlessly (like if PETA were to make a feature film) and although modestly budgeted it’s one of the most uncomfortable movies I’ve seen this year.” Bloody Flicks
“Perhaps humans do have the power, or political will, to change the worst horrors of animal exploitation, but Anonymous Animals does not seem optimistic about that possibility so, in that respect, it’s a very good horror film. As a surreal pseudo music video, making a heavy-handed but perhaps much-needed point, it truly succeeds – and depresses – in equal measure.” Horror DNA
“I adored the concept and the visuals are absolutely stunning. There is no dialogue at all and it uses a combination of silence, animal noises and bursts of music to convey some suitably creepy moments. The only thing that did let this down for me was the fact that at times the lighting was so gloomy I couldn’t see what was going on. Also during all the chase and fight scenes they opted for masses of shaky cam…” HorrorScreams VideoVault
“The film’s placement of man in the place of animal seems less like the usual “one degree away from our baser natures” common to horror and more an exercise in radical empathic alignment. Both parties at work in this film are the titular anonymous animals, but perhaps seeing fear play out across faces that look like ours is the more impactful move.” Killer Horror Critic
“The foggy and vague plot makes for a somewhat frustrating experience at times, but make no mistake about it, this is a slice of experimental cinema that unapologetically tells you what’s in its head. The film looks great, and the eye for detail and framing from Rouveure is impeccable. The performances, too, from the slim cast, are effectively curious.” Nerdly
“No matter whether this represents Sadean surrealism, vegetarian tract or nature’s revenge, it certainly reflects back at us that strangest and cruellest of creatures, the human animal. For like George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945), this is an allegory of us – and if, in its final, fleeting image, as in its opening sequence, the shoe is back on the other foot, nonetheless the horror of who we are and what we do remains.” Projected Figures
“Anonymous Animals is truly an animal rights presentation; but on the other hand, there is nothing overtly political or pamphleteering about it. It simply presents a role-reversed world and lets the viewer’s thoughts crystallize at their own pace. That said, it didn’t convert me to veganism any more than Okja did. I admired what happened here as an impressive and effective storytelling device…” Ready Steady Cut!
“The experimental approach of Anonymous Animals pays off handsomely and its absence of expositional talk only serves to heighten the nightmarish quality of the situations on display. The lack of subtext may leave some viewers battered by the message but Baptiste Rouveure has made a morally charged, challenging film that will linger uncomfortably in the memory. As a genre movie, it delivers true, unfiltered horror that will provoke discussion.” The Strange Colour of Deej’s Reviews
“Filmmaker Baptiste Rouveure, one suspects, is not some militant vegan with an agenda. The film is far too subtle, adroit, and restrained to be the work of some demagog. The goal here is to make the audience think, even for a bit. And we do think. There is much to ponder. Anonymous Animals will prompt discussion, disagreement, and theory.” Without Your Head
Black Mandala acquired Anonymous Animals for distribution and the film had its world premiere at the Sitges International Film Festival in Spain in October 2020.
In the US, Gravitas Ventures will release Anonymous Animals theatrically in select locations and On-Demand on November 5, 2021.
Les Animaux Anonymes
The Farm (2018)