A few months ago, I visited the Safari with my family. Full of excitement, we drove our Suzuki crossover into the lion’s territory to meet the king of the beasts, whom the girls had only known from books and television until now. The excitement was at its peak. We drove slowly inside the lion’s den, strained our eyes, and saw almost nothing – except maybe a lioness who was daydreaming far away from us. A short scientific examination showed us that we can’t accuse the management of the Safari, or the hot weather. It seems that the lions’ behavior was normal after all. Lions usually sleep about 20-21 hours a day for evolutionary reasons to conserve energy, so you are most likely to encounter a lion when he is napping or seeking shelter from people’s cameras.
I was worried that this would be a bit of a disappointment for my daughters, who have grown up believing that lions are the coolest animals ever. But it seems there is only One thing that is less reliable than horror movies, and that is children’s books. Fortunately, there was no disappointment in our family, because we saw enough other animals in books and on TV.
To a certain extent, action and horror films that center on attempts to survive against angry lions have felt like those lions to me until now: sleepy and quite boring. They belong to the sub-genre of survival films, in which one or more characters try to survive physically in the face of a threat. While there are quite successful survival films that focus on crocodiles, tigers, fish, sheep, or overall nature, films about lions were negligible to the best of my recollection, despite (and perhaps because) the threat here is one of the greatest you can imagine. Many times these were low-budget TV movies, so the result ranged from unrealistic to downright ridiculous.
That’s why when I went to see the film “Beast”, at the cinema lately, I had mixed expectations. On the one hand, there is a respected Hollywood star, a skilled director, and a budget to work. On the other hand, it’s a movie about a lion that attacks humans. So did it enjoyed to ride to Africe? You can check “Beast” movie review to find out.
Family Drama Becomes Horror-Action Film
The opening scene of “Beast” explains to us why that lion does not obey the laws of nature: a dubious-looking group of hunters arrives at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, one of the largest of its kind in the world. She hunted an entire pack of lions for commercial purposes because it turns out that leftovers are worth a fortune. They succeed in their mission except for one lion who manages to escape and kills several hunters.
A short time later, Dr. Nate Samuels (the excellent Idris Elba) and his two teenage daughters arrive at the same reserve: Meredith, or “Mr” for short (played by Ivana Halley), and Nora (Leah Jeffries). The three recently went through a tragedy: the parents separated, And a short time later, the family died of cancer. The girls hold a grudge against their father, who they claim abandoned them and their coach during the difficult moments.
The trip to Africa is a Genealogy tour, to the village where the late mother grew up and an attempt to heal the family a little. The three meet “Uncle” Martin (Sharlto Copley), Nate’s long-time friend, a biologist who is now in charge of the reserve, and a staunch opponent of poachers. The four go on a safari. After some spectacular animal shots and silly fights over hats, they arrive at a local village and discover that something killed the inhabitants. You can already guess who is responsible.
A Children’s Book? More Like A Horror Movie
The film is based on a story by Jamie Primack Sullivan, who also serves as one of its actual producers, and a screenplay by Ryan Angle (who was one of the writers of Liam Neeson’s two action thrillers, “Non-Stop” and “The Commuter”).
From that moment when the lion stops sleeping and goes on a revenge journey against anyone who invades his territory, the film turns into a survival journey full of horrors. This journey will include, as is the best tradition, an injured and trapped character for most of the film, a jeep that won’t start, and the inability to communicate with the outside world due to the lack of cell phone reception.
Here we can already mention positively the direction of Icelander baltasar kormákur, who has experience presenting stories of survival of man against nature: in the polished “Everest” from 2015, for example, or in the Icelandic drama The Deep. Together with the veteran French photographer Philippe Rousseau (Oscar winner for “A River Flows Between”), the two convey the menace of the Savannah impressively. The film is beautifully shot and uses long shots from the perspective of the protagonists that show how they see (and sometimes miss) the threat that is almost always around them.
Even in the other aspects of the film’s production, like the sound or the editing, it seems there’s a skillful hand behind the camera. The team makes the most of the rather small location and the fact that the budget here (about 36 million dollars) is reasonable but not close to a Hollywood blockbuster. You see it in some parts. As is the best tradition, the lion in 2022 is digital, the result is convincing – at least in most cases. The same goes for the acting of most of the actors in the rather limited cast, under the direction of Alba, who manages to add some depth to the character. As befits a film whose cast is mostly made up of black people, it raises some relevant current issues, for example about returning to the roots of the black person. There are also relevant environmental concerns about the consequences of man’s damage to nature, a theme that recurs in many survival movies.,
Easy Prey, Under The Cover Of Hollywood Irrationality
Not everything is perfect here, of course. The film is a little messy in parts and uneven in its pace, so you feel that certain parts of it are a little smeared. It also loses a bit of momentum towards the end, with the final fight with the beast a little disappointing. Along with some really tense moments, there are moments where the characters act irrationally, and some would say stupidly because that’s how you create tension in movies nowadays: shouting and calling out at the most inappropriate moments, for example, or coming out of hiding precisely at the most dangerous times. Horror addicts will point out that there are not enough scares, scares, corpses or mutilated organs to explain why “Beast” can be considered a horror movie. But in my opinion – survival films dealing with fears and threats fall under this definition in most cases.
“Beast” manages to provide a decent value for the ticket price or for the limited screen time, which is about an hour and a half. It is far from perfect, for example regarding the script, but maintains enough interest and tension. I’m not sure it will make you want to go on a Safari tour in Africa, but we will always have small zoos. And if the lions continue to sleep there too, we’ll try the children’s books.
Where Can I Watch Beast?
Beast 2022 movie is currently not available for streaming. Stay Tuned for updates.
“Beast” (2022) – Full Details
Countries of Origin: United States, Iceland
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Cast: Idris Elba, Leah Jeffries, Iyana Halley, Sharlto Copley
Runtime: 93 minutes
Budget: 38 Million dollar
US & Canada: $31,846,530
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): R
IMDB Rating: 5.6