“Beast – Hunters Without Mercy”
Two children, one father, no survival instincts
By Linn Penkert
25/08/2022, 5:38 PM
They want to have a good time in Africa to cope with the death of their mother. But soon Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and his two daughters face a bloodthirsty lion in “Beast”. They couldn’t do more than that.
Movies in which an animal mutates into a bloodthirsty beast have not only been screened a number of times since Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws”. Be it “Tarantula”, “Deep Blue Sea”, “The Shallows”, “Anaconda”, “The Birds” or “Cujo” – animal horror just makes you shiver differently than any ax killer.
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur probably copied a few things from that last film for “Beast”. In ‘Cujo’, a child-loving Saint Bernard becomes a rabid predator who preys on a family that must lock itself in a car for several days to survive. Likewise, in “Beast” Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and his daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries) visit their mother’s homeland, the African savanna, after their mother’s death.
While on safari with an old family friend, ranger Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), the small family finds everyone in a mutilated and dead village. The mystery of who is responsible for the horrific act is soon solved: a lion, who had to watch poachers wipe out his pack, now sees in every human an enemy that must be killed. He follows the four-member group for miles at every turn and has only one goal: to get them between his legs.
Not to be taken seriously
“Multiple attacks without eating the prey – lions don’t do that”, Martin is quickly surprised. Of course, if the animal behaved differently, there would be no movie. But the ranger probably feels that “Beast – Hunters Without Mercy” should not be taken seriously. As if the premise wasn’t crazy enough, the main characters – led by stubborn teenager Meredith – make one stupid decision after another to move the lame story forward. If any of the attendees were even half rational, they’d just get back in the jeep and drive home as fast as they could.
But of course it doesn’t come to that. And so the viewers have to endure how the small group tries to fight and kick the beast with a knife (!!!). But the lion can’t do that any more than anesthetic injections or a group of poachers who pass by during the course of the film and shoot him with semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. The animal even survives a car explosion – only its whiskers are now colored black.
Idris Elba Is Too Good For “Beast”
To bring a little emotionality to the survival thriller, there is always tension between Nate and Iyana, who resents her father for leaving her mother shortly before she was diagnosed with cancer. Not that this storyline is even remotely relevant to the course of the film. She just seems forced and annoying. Rather than feel sorry for the teenager, who has not yet come to terms with her mother’s death, one would like to feed her to the lions for the first few minutes, before the beast first appears.
It’s hard to understand how Golden Globe winner Idris Elba got involved in such a waste project. Already in the first scenes, in which he falls victim to the tirades of his annoying daughter, it becomes clear that he is too good for “Beast”. But even his acting talent does not save the film.
The shaky camera work is the tip of the iceberg that makes the film so unbearable to watch. In between, it looks like an amateur has a GoPro strapped to his head. However, the crowds that arise does not have a dramatic effect, but rather a dizzying effect. However, one positive detail should be emphasized: “Beast” lasts only 90 minutes. You really couldn’t have exploited the story of a bloodthirsty murdering lion any longer.
“Beast – Hunters without mercy” is now in German cinemas.