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Blu-ray Review: Beast (Collector’s Edition)

November 15, 2022

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The South African-set survival thriller Beast is a movie that is basically built around the prospect of seeing Idris Elba fight a lion. Sure, you could maybe argue there’s a little more to it, but barely, as the film’s pulpy thrills are essentially built around seeing man versus, well, beast.

Elba stars as Dr. Nate Samuels, a widower visiting South Africa with his two teenaged daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries). Meredith is interested in photography, just like her late mother who grew up in South Africa, and Nate is trying to mend his relationship with them after leaving the family.

They are staying with Martin (Sharlto Copley), an “anti-poacher” who is protecting local wildlife preserves from hunters trying to profit off of selling animal parts on the black market. They soon discover that a seemingly unstoppable lion is out for revenge after the rest of his pride has been killed by these illegal poachers (seen in flashes in the opening scene), and it’s not long before the family starts getting stalked by the creature.

And, yeah, that’s basically all there is to the film. Directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, Beast has a very economical quality to it. The film gets off to bit of a slow start as it tries too hard to set up a compelling backstory for the characters in its first act. But this is merely window dressing to bide some time until the main attraction, with the final two-thirds locking them into a tense survival game against the rampaging lion. The characters and story really aren’t that deep, but Elba is a rugged and dynamic enough presence to hold it together.

This is unabashedly a B-movie in every sense of the term. It’s nothing spectacular or even particularly memorable, but Beast still offers a decent amount of suspense in a small package that gets in and gets out in roughly ninety minutes. It’s a serviceable enough creature feature, nothing more and nothing less, so you could do a lot worse in terms of at-home viewing.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray includes a single deleted scene and a half-dozen featurettes on the production. A regular DVD is also included in the package.

Deleted Scene (47 seconds): A brief early moment between the two daughters.

Creating the Beast (4 minutes, 7 seconds): Looks at the film’s visual effects, including photorealistic CG lions brought to life with the help of “animal movement specialists” portraying them on set.

Man vs. Lion: The Final Battle (2 minutes, 57 seconds): A look at creating the final fight between Elba and the lion, with stunt double Owen Macrae providing the creature’s movements on set. And rest assured, no real lions were used or harmed.

Making It Real: The Wounds (4 minutes, 10 seconds): A fascinating (and gross) look at the impressive prosthetics used to realistically show the flesh wounds in the film.

Filming in the Beast’s Territory (5 minutes, 3 seconds): Cast and crew discuss their experience of shooting on-location in South Africa, including building the abandoned village set from scratch.

Family Bond: The Cast of Beast (6 minutes, 5 seconds): A look at the themes of family in the film, and casting the two teenaged daughters.

A Lion’s Pride (7 minutes, 42 seconds): An interesting fact-based featurette, looking at the real world threat that illegal poachers face to severely endangered lion populations, and the incredible importance of protecting these animals in the wild.

Beast is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 93 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: November 15th, 2022

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