Beast (2022) Review

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Beast
IMDB: LINK
Director(s): Baltasar Kormákur
Actor(s): Idris Elba, Sharlto Copley, Iyana Halley
Film Genre(s): Thriller
Running Time: N/A

It’s been a while since we had a good “animal attack” thriller. While Beast isn’t the best of the creature features we’ve gotten in the last few years (I would give that honour to 2019’s Crawl, Chris’ original rating be damned), it is definitely an entertaining addition to the man vs. nature canon.

Beast centres on Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba), who, after his ex-wife’s death, decides to take his teenage daughters Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Meredith (Iyana Halley) on a trip to South Africa to visit their mother’s old village. The girls aren’t really fond of dear old dad for separating prior to her passing, so he’s hoping the trip could mend their strained relationship. The family reconnects with Nate’s old friend Martin (Sharlto Copley), who escorts the family to a nearby game preserve. Suddenly, the four find themselves under attack by a huge, pissed-off lion bent on killing everything in its path. Low on water and supplies, the group has to pull together and find a way to survive.

Beast (2022) Review 2

Right off the bat, credit has to be given to the direction and cinematography. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (best known stateside for Everest and Denzel buddy cop flick 2 Guns) and DP Philippe Rousselot capture the beautiful South African landscape with a surprising amount of long takes and tracking shots throughout its brisk 90-minute runtime. The initial lion attack is especially impressive; it’s a very intense sequence, where the camera pans inside and all around the car the crew is trapped inside. It gives the feeling that the lion could be creeping up from any direction.

“That B-movie energy is all over Beast’s screenplay (penned by Ryan Engle), for better and for worse.”

Speaking of which, the lion in Beast might as well be up there with Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers in terms of ridiculously powerful skill-sets. It’s one thing that it can damn near teleport behind people, it’s another to survive the amount of damage this lion takes over the course of the movie.Just like those classic slasher villains, at times it’s very effective and lends to some great scares. Others? Downright hilarious.

That B-movie energy is all over Beast’s screenplay (penned by Ryan Engle), for better and for worse. The main four characters deliver solid performances despite the script being filled with average writing and very frustrating character decisions. While it is straight-to-the-point in terms of the general plot, the family drama aspect in particular feels sadly undercooked.

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While the overall solid performances from Leah Jeffries and Iyana Halley both shine strongest in those moments, the writing makes their characters do genuinely irritating actions when it comes to the immediate survival portion of the film. That being said, the whole thing is kept from being pure schlock by the main man himself, Idris Elba. Elba gives a strong lead performance, as a man who just wants to do right by the family he failed to keep before, and is willing to fight this lion one-on-one to do so.

Beast does what it says on the tin, and you’ll know exactly your interest in it the moment you see any kind of ad for it. The question you have to ask yourself is “do I really want to see Idris Elba punch a lion in the face?” If your answer is “absolutely”, then make your way to see it. If not, then maybe catch it on its future extended syndication run.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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