Written by Ryan Engle
Story by Jaime Primak Sullivan
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator. (IMDB)
In an effort to reconnect with his daughters, bereaved Dr Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) returns to his ex-wife’s South African home for a cathartic family holiday. Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Meredith (Iyana Halley) are almost strangers to him and Meredith, in particular, is finding it hard to forgive Nate for, in her eyes, abandoning their mother when she was sick.
Staying with Martin (Sharlto Copley) a game warden and old friend of Nate and his wife, they plan to see the sights and get a “behind the scenes” look at the Savanna and its animals.
BEAST opens with a group of poachers getting what they deserve at the paws of a big Lion who has gone rogue and is fighting back without any consideration for who it mauls.
On their first trip out, Martin, Nate and his daughters find a village that has been destroyed by the rogue lion and, as Martin goes off to track it, a series of events lead to injury and desperation as the group are stranded in the bush being stalked by the killer lion.
Throw in some dodgy poachers, life-threatening injuries and a lack of water, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster… or a dramatic fight back from Nate as he bonds with his kids protecting them from the crazed predator.
I had low expectations for this film, seeing some of the reviews on IMDB, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is nowhere near as bad as some of the reviews suggest. Yes, it is daft, and people sometimes make dodgy decisions, but it’s a monster disaster movie, and bad decision go hand in hand with this type of movie. You are not always looking for subtlety with high-concept movies. Jaws is high-concept and a bit daft when you really think about it – but it is still one of my favourites and one of the greatest films of all time.
Beast is not on the same level as Jaws, but it is still a fun romp through the South African bush, with some fun jump scares and action scenes. At 93 minutes, it is the perfect length for a film like this and is nicely shot and directed. The majority of the film is carried by Idris, Sharlto, Iyana, and Leah and they all do a good job, the young actors holding their own with the veterans. There are a few instances of cheesy dialogue and clunky, heartfelt bonding in the middle of a disaster but, again, that just goes hand in hand with this kind of movie; we know Nate is going to reconnect with his daughters, we expect it.
Whether he makes it out alive or not is an entirely different matter.
I had fun with Beast. If you don’t expect too much and just want an enjoyable 90 minutes of escapism and Idris Elba punching a lion, then you won’t be too disappointed. And if you don’t want to see Idris Elba punch a lion in the face then you must be bored of life.