Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Just so you know, to get it out of the way, Writer / Director Chris Wojcik’s ‘Rise of the Animals’ is awful.  Simply awful.  From top to bottom, inside and out, edge to edge, wire to wire… awful.  BUT… we here at the FCU do give credit where credit is deserved and I do believe that the film achieved everything that the filmmaking team behind this movie was aiming for, that being the creation of an awful, awful movie.  Gotta love it when a plan comes together. 

Our movie begins with some animals rising up.  Like the kitty cat in the kitchen.  From the opening scene, with the camera technique being the third person stuffed kitty cat view, you should know what you are in for if you choose to accept the ‘Rise of the Animals’ challenge.  A lot of you… most of you… will not be able to accept this challenge and you will move on with your lives.  Unfortunately for myself, this stuffed cat has trapped me and I will not be able to go anywhere for the next hour or so.  Yes, this movie runs at a little more than an hour with some extra long credits tacked on to qualify to be a feature length film, so at least it won’t waste too much of your time if you do accept the challenge.  Next thing we see is an attacking dog.  The dog is real, but if ever there was a dog that looked like it was simply chasing a little boy down the street so it could lick his face as opposed to rip this kid to shreds, it was this dog. 

Why are the animals rising up?  That is so unimportant in this movie that we won’t even discuss it.  Because they didn’t discuss it.  What is important is that Wolf (Greg Hopple) delivers pizza for a living.  On this particular day Wolf and his homeboy Jake (Adam Schonberg) have to deliver pies to some out of the way location where some hotties from their high school are having one of those hottie type slumber parties that probably only occur in teenage boys wet dreams.  Amazingly, as if ripped from the pages of Penthouse Forum… not that I’ve ever read that… Wolf and Jake get a little action this evening.  Wolf in particular gets to have a little tryst with the hottest girl in high school, or college, I forget, in the lovely Samantha (Nicole Salisbury).  Wolf couldn’t close the deal due to his biological inadequacies, but the next day with Samantha missing… the animals have begun their attack.

First it’s some completely awful looking CGI deer, followed by some equally awful looking deer head props completely eating teenagers amid gallons upon gallons of fake blood being tossed onto them by someone off camera.  Carnage is everywhere but fortunately Wolf, Jake and Jake’s sister Rachel (Stephanie Motta), who was also at the party, make it out.  What’s the plan?  Wolf has to find Samantha.  He desperately needs to find Samantha.  He will risk life and limb to find Samantha because he almost had sex with Samantha and that makes Samantha worth saving. 

From there Wolf, Jake and Rachel drive around town, fleeing from various CGI animals and puppets in search of Wolf’s one true love.  Until the boy learns that love is an equation with variables.  A showdown with a grizzly looms.  Of course Grizzlies probably don’t need an atmospheric disturbance to be mean, but that’s neither here nor there. 

The last movie I saw where animals attacked was ‘Birdemic’, and while ‘Rise of the Animals’ is ‘Birdemic’ like in that it is a low budget movie with suspect acting, sparse sets, and even more suspect special effects, by comparison it looks like ‘The Godfather’ when compared to ‘Birdemic’.  Mind you, I don’t think that any filmmakers goal should be to create a movie that’s better than ‘Birdemic’, but this much we can say about ‘Rise of the Animals’.  

We’re not going to spend too much time beating up on writer / director Chris Wojcik’s film, because it a movie with a budget hovering around eight bucks and there’s no real point in beating it up.   But even though the flaws and shortcomings of ‘Rise of the Animals’ are monumental and insurmountable, one thing that does permeate through the movie is that it looks as if everyone was having a good time while making this movie.  Now I’m not recommending that anyone run out and see a movie, one that’s admittedly awful, to watch other people have fun, but there as an easy, breezy levity to this movie that does make it easier to sit through.

Ultimately, one does need a high tolerance level for these types of movies to even make through a movie such as ‘Rise of the Animals’, let alone enjoy it, and while I can’t say I was enjoying myself all the way through the incredibly brief running time of this movie, I did appreciate what they were going for because I think they achieved it.

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