"Jonas Alexander Arnby's debut feature is a confident and good-looking work that owes more to the Nordic Noir gloom of 'Let the Right One In' than to the sanitized fluff of 'Twilight'," Stephen Dalton wrote in The Hollywood Reporter after the world premiere of "When Animals Dream" at the Cannes Festival.
Arnbys lauded film is scripted by Rasmus Birch and centres on a teenage girl, Marie, who hits puberty harder than most. Her body transforms in mysterious ways and she struggles on several fronts with her surroundings, as her mother suffers from a mysterious illness and she is bullied at work.
Sonia Suhl, who plays the lead as Marie, also finds favour with several critics, among them Allan Hunter of Screen Daily:
"Arnby is well served by newcomer Sonia Suhl whose pale alabaster beauty already marks Marie as an outsider. Her dazed looks and awkward expressions further reflect her nightmare situation and keep Marie a sympathetic figure even as she becomes a blood-hungry monster."
In Twitch, Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg calls Arnby's film "a tremendous feature debut, haunting and elegiac, while not shying away from violence and sex."
More in the Same Vein
Genre films in the horror and fantasy department used to be a rarity in Denmark, but in recent years several Danish directors have developed an appetite for them.
More are on the way this year, such as Ask Hasselbalch's sequel to his successful superhero film "Antboy" and Martin Barnewitz' monster movie "Danny's Doomsday", and next year will see the release of Kenneth Kainz's "The Shamer's Daughter" and Bo Mikkelsen's "What We Become".
"When Animals Dream" has its Danish release on 12 June.
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"If you get too involved in this whole world of werewolves, you can get lost in rules and dogmas about unibrows and full moons etcetera. We decided to stick to realism. (...) After all, werewolves describe something human – the dark, animal side of humanity, the sex drive and the instinct to attack when cornered," Jonas Alexander Arnby says in our Cannes magazine.
Read the interview in full and find more background stories about "The Salvation" and other Danish films at the 2014 Cannes Festival. Discover them either in our digital magazine or by leafing through the print magazine: