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When Animals Dream(Når dyrene drømmer)

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Denmark, France

2014

Rated R • 1h 24m

Director Jonas Alexander Arnby

Starring Sonia Suhl, Lars Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter, Benjamin Boe Rasmussen

Genre Mystery, Drama, Horror

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The young woman, Marie, is an outsider in the small coastal community where she has grown up. The townspeople live in fear of her and not least her mother, who is wheelchair bound, suffering from a mysterious illness. When Marie discovers her body changing – long hair growing on her chest and back – she begins searching for answers concerning her family’s hidden past. Something that will have great consequences for herself and her family – and the choices she has to make.

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70

The New York Times by A.O. Scott

When Animals Dream is a beguiling parable of cruelty and the resistance to it. Its special effects are pretty minimal, its scope is modest, and it is, in the end, more touching than terrifying, intent on jolting its audience not with dread but with compassion.
50

Slant Magazine by Chuck Bowen

The film is one long funereal slog in which the main character discovers something about herself that's almost immediately apparent.
40

Variety by Dennis Harvey

When Animals Dream lacks peasants bearing flaming torches to hunt down Frankenstein’s monster outside the terrorized village. But it also lacks the depth to avoid seeming just as corny, albeit in a dressed-up, self-consciously important way.
75

The A.V. Club by Katie Rife

The gore is there, as are the transformation sequences, but they’re played in such a muted fashion that their more visceral pleasures are somewhat mitigated. But viewers who check their expectations will find a solid entry into the burgeoning feminist werewolf sub-genre that’s well worth a look.
30

Village Voice by Nick Schager

Avoiding the genre's typical werewolfism-as-puberty metaphors, director Jonas Alexander Arnby instead casts his material as a drawn-out character study — the problem being that his characters are all one-note dullards, which turns his slow, portent-heavy drama into a giant slog.
70

Los Angeles Times by Robert Abele

Though the careful mood is invariably dissipated when it comes time to kill, kill, kill, Arnby's ace in the hole remains Suhl, a young actress of Streep-ian intensity.
75

New York Post by Sara Stewart

Casting aside warnings and physical threats from the townspeople, this once-demure teen girl embraces her wild side with a gory, punk-rock abandon.