Don Reviews "Beast"
Having grown up in Montana and having been to Yellowstone National Park many times (including recently), I have always tried to have a respect for wildlife. Unfortunately, there are people who go over the clearly posted barriers into restricted areas, putting themselves in danger to try to get that one-of-a-kind picture they think will go viral and make them famous (don’t get me started on THAT). These areas are restricted for a reason, and without a certified guide it can be dangerous and even life-threatening to the average person. In some cases, it’s just as dangerous even with professionals, and when it all goes wrong is what is dealt with in “Beast”.
Directed by Baltasar Kormàkur (The Oath, 2 Guns), Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) is on a vacation with two daughters, Meredith (Iyanna Halley) & Norah (Leah Jeffries) in South Africa where he originally met his wife through his good friend and local wildlife protection advocate, Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley). As part of their trip, Martin offers to take them on a “VIP” tour of the local preserve where they encounter a lion looking to take revenge on any human it comes in contact with after surviving trauma of its own, including Nate and his family. As disaster after disaster happens to them, it becomes a fight for survival in the hopes that help is on its way.
I’m not even to bury the lead here: I hated this film.
Even though “Beast” is shot well, the visuals do not make up for a plot that is simply too predictable and works VERY far outside of believability. Even basic survival skills are thrown out of the window for the sake of trying to create suspense on the level of the average teen slasher film (the kind that is parodied in insurance adds that air in the fall each year) with the daughters’ characters written so badly, I started to root for the lion at a certain point. This is so badly done that I found myself comparing this part of it to Halle Berry’s “Kidnap”.
I was also very upset about the matter in which lions themselves are portrayed because even though there ARE reports of lions attacking humans, this film portrays them as going on a killing spree on a “Sharknado”-type craze. There is also a discussion of poachers and anti-poachers, but it still paints the animal as the villain and not as much time as the humans causing the damage in that light. Although it was fun watching the audience at the screening I attended react to many of the jump scares (which is also done WAY too much), that was the ONLY thing I enjoyed and will not ever see “Beast” again.