Beast Review – CGI Gets Real

CGI has no business being as scary as it is in the action thriller Beast, wherein a rogue lion is intent on hunting down a family it identifies with those who murdered its own.

Audiences do love an underdog, sometimes even at the expense of their interests. It’s the only way to explain this particular genre, which has evolved from rooting for humans to exterminate the brutes to rooting for the so-called brutes to exterminate the real monsters: MAN.

How did Beast reduce me (and some of my fellow critics) to writhing in fear at the screening? Chalk it up to filmmakers who were just allowed to do their thing.

Director Baltasar Kormákur has the kind of action credits that prove he has nothing to prove, while the co-writing powers combined of Ryan Engle and Jaime Primak Sullivan, who are teaming up again after they collaborated on the 2018 thriller Breaking In, uplift Beast to dizzying…well, not heights, but a good lay of the land.

The land in question is South Africa, which conveniently sets up a horrific situation made far worse by taking place in a remote area that provides more than enough danger while dangling all methods of communication tantalizingly out of reach. And there’s not much to offend or even outrage to the degree that’s off-putting enough to take us out of the situation.

Lions may not be endangered, but it’s still pretty repulsive when a bunch of poachers kills off an entire pride of them for profit. A throwaway line shows a hint of reliability, though, after one mentions seeing his friend back at school. I mean student loans, amirite?

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