Beast (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Beast (2022) Review

Horrorific content by christina on August 26th, 2022 | Movie Review | Survival, Wilderness, Thriller, Creature, Isolation, Wildlife, Black Horror

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It's about a widowed father and his two daughters who visit South Africa to pay their respects to their deceased wife and mother, until they become isolated and hunted by a bloodthirsty lion, out for revenge after it's entire pride was slaughtered by poachers.

Beast was directed by Baltasar Kormákur and stars Idris Elba (The Dark Tower, Prometheus, and 28 Weeks Later), Leah JeffriesIyana HalleySharlto Copley (Open Grave), Riley Keough (The Lodge, The House That Jack Built, and Hold the Dark), Melanie JarnsonAmara MillerDorian HedgewoodAnzor Alem, and Damon Burtley.

Beast (2022) Review

There's nothing quite like the fear of being hunted by a wild animal. The very thought of it is enough to send a shiver down your spine. It's the stuff of nightmares and something that can keep you up at night. It is enough to make your heart race and your palms sweat. It's a paralyzing fear that can take over your body and leave you feeling helpless. If you're lucky, you'll never have to experience it firsthand. But if you're unlucky, you may find yourself face-to-face with a wild animal that sees you as its next meal. And that's precisely what happens in Beast.

Like Orca (1977), the film starts with a cataclysmic event in which poachers kill a lion's whole pride. This then sets off a chain of revenge from the lion, which seeks to punish everyone who crosses its path. The initial scene immediately turns the audience towards the lion's plight and follows a simple formula, but the consideration put into its characters and thrills keep you engaged.

Dr. Nate Samuels visits South Africa with his two daughters, Mere and Norah, to feel closer to their late mother and to improve his relationship with them. Unfortunately, the father's absence creates tension between the sisters, who look to their mother's friend Martin, a wildlife preservationist, for guidance and support on a trip to South Africa. They are quickly stranded and hunted by a rogue lion that is intent on destroying everything it comes across.

The ecological thriller "Beast" begins with the father-daughter conflict and then leads to some exciting survivalist challenges. The predictable story is enlivened by suspenseful moments as the family tries to stay alive in an inhospitable environment. Engle creates suspense by putting the family and their friend through a series of challenges, including dehydration, isolation, bad weather, injuries, and encounters with morally bankrupt individuals.

Director Baltasar Kormákur keeps the audience engaged by using tracking shots to create a sense of urgency. Kormákur can generate tension out of multiple harrowing encounters with humans and lions. He films in an exciting and visually stimulating way, utilizing the location well and making excellent use of animal VFX.

What hampers this film is its reliance on dream sequences, which are used frequently without furthering the plot. These sequences presumably symbolize the protagonist's trauma at losing her mother. Still, they only serve to drag down the story's pacing in places and make for a weak attempt at frightening the audience. Nate's medical skills are helpful in many ways, but he is inexperienced in dealing with the dangers of nature and wild animals. His teenage daughter makes this worse, who often makes impulsive decisions expected of a horror movie character, leaving Nate frustrated and helpless. On the other hand, Jeffries Norah is a cunning and resourceful protagonist, constantly outsmarting her older counterparts. Her quick thinking and accurate predictions save the day several times, despite being dismissed for her age.

Worth Watching? 

The humans are ultimately responsible for the destruction, and Beast does not entirely reset the laws of nature or kill everyone. The lines of morality get drawn too clearly, making it clear who is supposed to die and who is not. The low-budget attempts to make a B-movie thriller mostly succeeded, and the characters were more developed than one might expect, making the viewer care about them. Its anti-poaching messaging was not very deep, but the performances, led by Idris Elba, were believable and looked good. This film is not as good as it could be, but it is still entertaining.

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