"Beast" is 'Cujo', but with a Lion
“Lions, tigers and bears. Oh, my!” In the case of the new movie, “Beast”, one lion is enough. Especially if that lion is really pissed off after poachers kill the members of his pride. Now the Beast is ready to slaughter anyone walking on two feet. Unfortunately, Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and his two daughters, Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Meredith (Iyana Halley), go on a safari at this same time.
The pitch for “Beast” is very simple. It’s “’Cujo’, but with a lion.” A good deal of the time, a parent is trapped in a car with his children while a killer animal lurks outside. It makes for a good claustrophobic setting, as there is very little room for the humans to experience safety. This a concept not used too often and this movie tries to give the impression that it is a fresh idea.
Director Baltasar Kormákur does his best to create tension and throw some jump scares in. He is often successful, but not always. Credit must be given to the two young stars as they play being terrified very well.
It is interesting that the antagonist, in this case the lion, is not necessarily a “bad guy”. In fact, in some ways we will root for him. Not that we want to see Dr. Samuels and his children get killed, but we certainly don’t mind seeing the poachers get their just rewards. The lion just can’t tell the good humans from the bad.
“Beast” only runs for 90-minutes. It sets itself up fast and still gives some decent character development. It delivers what you want. Yes, there is some hokey dialogue like, “We are in his territory now”, but on a purely entertainment level you are getting what you paid for.