Streaming Review: Cryptozoo

Cryptozoo' Review: Wild Things - The New York Times

There are certain signs that a film you’re about to watch is going to be a bit more interesting than you imagined. In the case of the animated Cryptozoo, the movie had my complete attention when it featured a unicorn goring a naked guy to death. You’re not going to see that kind of action in a movie by Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks. You need to get indie to get this kind of weirdness which comes free and easy in Cryptozoom

Things start off with Amber (voiced by Louisa Krause) and Matthew (Arrested Development‘s Michael Cera) making the nature scene in the forest. After they’ve had a bit of passion, they go for a walk and discover a tall fence. Instead of staying out, Matthew insists on climbing the wire to explore what’s on the other side. Amber joins along. They are surprised to come across a unicorn. While normally this is a fantastical moment of wonderment, one of the people discovers that there’s a point to unicorns having horns. This leads to a bloody scene that will shock younger viewers. Turns out the fence surrounds the secret Cryptozoo. Turns out Lauren Grey (Children’s Hospital‘s Lake Bell) has been going around the globe and bringing mythical animals to this private zoo for safe keeping. Eventually she wants to open it up to the public so it can be financially sound. She is now tracking down beast that used to take away her nightmares: Baku. But the creature is allusive. She needs assistance from a Gorgon named Phoebe (The Lobster‘s Angeliki Papoulia) to not merely track down the Baku, but to also fight back against rivals that want the crypto creatures for military purposes.

Cryptozoo is a rough and tumble animated tale. The animation has a ragged quality as if it was lifted from the sketchbook. The characters have a pen and ink quality. Everything feels like a collage with hodgepodge styles. Director Dean Shaw’s previous feature film was My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea. That was also a bit of a trippy film with the strangeness just glowing from the screen. Shaw and animation director Jane Samborski have double the weirdness and kept it compelling. Cryptozoo is filled with mystery and madness.

Cryptozoo is currently available to rent or buy digitally.

Magnolia Pictures presents Cryptozoo. Directed by Dean Shaw and Jane Samborski. Screenplay by Dean Shaw. Starring Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Zoe Kazan, Louisa Krause, Angeliki Papoulia, Thomas Jay Ryan, Peter Stormare and Grace Zabriskie. Running time: 90 minutes. Release Date: November 16, 2021.

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