Combustible Celluloid
With: Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Emily Davis, Alex Karpovsky, Zoe Kazan, Louisa Krause, Angeliki Papoulia, Thomas Jay Ryan, Peter Stormare, Grace Zabriskie (voices)
Written by: Dash Shaw
Directed by: Dash Shaw
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 95
Date: 04/09/2021

Cryptozoo (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Cages of Sin

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Opening with a man and a woman having sex and then running around stark naked for a while, this hand-drawn animated indie movie by filmmaker Dash Shaw is not for kids. But, despite its slightly grimy, unsettlingly queasy tone, Cryptozoo is consistently impressive and wildly imaginative (It reminded me of things like Fantastic Planet, amazing, but potentially nightmare-inducing.) The couple discovers a secret compound where a race, the Cryptids, live, away from human eyes. Our hero Lauren (voiced by Lake Bell) is on the hunt for a Baku, a creature that saved her as a child by eating her nightmares. It ultimately turns into a story about exploitation and greed, and features a few chases and escapes, but the rough, homemade, crazy-quilt animation keeps things feeling fresh. It can be streamed from April 9 to April 18 as part of the 2021 SFFilm Festival.

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