Review of “When Animals Dream (Når Dyrene Drømmer)” at the Sarasota Film Festival #SFF2015

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Review by: Rodger Skidmore

When Animals Dream is the English translation of the Danish title – Hvem Stjal Min Ost (actually that is the Danish way of saying Who stole my cheese. The real Danish title is Når Dyrene Drømmer but there were no animals that dreamt in this film). WAD is quite derivative (derivat, in case the screen writer doesn’t know the word in Danish) with a big nod to the great 2008 Swedish film Let The Right One In. A really big nod.

Actually there are a number of differences between the two – When Animals Dream is in color (ripped throats are always better in color), this one is about werewolves instead of vampires, throats are ripped (I think I already mentioned that) instead of being just bitten and this one was released in 2014 instead of 2008 and was a ripoff (but I already mentioned that twice).

Also, this one takes place on a small island instead of in a suburban apartment complex. The wolfess works in a fish gutting factory instead of being cooped up in a darkened apartment but everyone, except her father and the young man who befriends her, are bullies. Worse bullies (they do crappier things) than in the Swedish vampire version. 

There is also a logistical difference. Vampires live for a very long time and werewolves, as per Lon Chaney, have more normal life spans. So little miss hairy face got her distinctive traits from her mother (no, not genetic), who got them from some Russians on a fishing trawler. With the stuff that Vladimir Putin is doing these days, sucking blood and territory from the Ukraine, why not blame him for this junk too – the werewolf stuff that happened on the Russian boat, not the derivative plot line. Oh heck, lets blame him for that also.

Acting? Yes, there was some, but mostly of guys just doing guy stuff and the family being all plain faced and stoic. Some of the bullies were hairier than Marie, the werewolf, but the action took place in Denmark so a beard is just a macho way of wearing a scarf.

Location? This was the best, as the sea, dunes, moors and rocks (great rocks) were bleak in a very Edward Hopper kind of way. All that stuff on an off-coast island should be bleak. Well done and the best part of the film. 

I hope the director, Jonas Alexander Arnby, got the money for this endeavor from the Danish national lottery system, as I would hate to think he took money for it from friends and family.

To sum up the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival, of which I’ve only seen a very small portion (9 films), I would say that my awards go to:

Best Documentary: Paradise Gardens

Best Drama: Slow West  

Best Comedy: Therapy For A Vampire (Der Vampir Auf Der Couch)

These three were picked, not just because they were better than the other films that I viewed, but because I really enjoyed them. In looking at all the benchmarks for rating films: acting, plot, location, costumes, cinematography, music, structure, etc. these three hit all the gates.



For a description of every film’s plot, as well as show times, please go to:

Download (PDF, 56.64MB)

When Animals Dream (Når Dyrene Drømmer)
Feature | 84 Min
16-year old Marie lives on a small island with her seriously ill mother and her father, who takes care of the family. But suddenly mysterious deaths happen and Marie can feel something strange happening to her body.
Film Info
Genre: Narrative
English Title: When Animals Dream
Original Title: Når Dyrene Drømmer
Category: Narrative Feature
Release Year: 2014
Runtime: 84 minutes
Type of Film: Narrative Feature
Production Country: Denmark
Original Language: Danish
Subtitles: English
Cast/Crew Info
Cast: Sonia Suhl
Lars Mikkelsen
Sonja Richter
Jakub Oftebro
Mads Riisom
Gustav Dyekjær Giese
Esben Dalgaard
Stig Hoffmeyer
Benjamin Boe Rasmussen
Director: Jonas Alexander Arnby
Executive Producer: Tine Grew Pfeiffer
Henrik Zein
Produced By: Ditte Milsted
Caroline Schlüter
Screenwriter: Rasmus Birch
Cinematography: Niels Thastum
Editing By: Peter Brandt
Production Design by: Sabine Hviid
Music By: Mikkel Hess
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