‘The Beast’ brings survival horror during safari in South Africa

THEDespite starting in the first few minutes with the high-spirited song I Can See Clearly Now, one of the biggest hits of Jimmy Cliff’s career, make no mistake, The Beast, starring Idris Elba, promises a lot of blood and butterflies in the stomach. The film, which opens this Thursday (11) in movie theaters in Brazil, is directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Evereste, 2015) and bets on survival horror in the middle of a safari in South Africa. This time, the enemy is not a serial killer or a haunting, but a giant lion with a thirst for revenge. The indicative rating is 14 years.

Idris Elba became known to the general public mainly because of his acting roles in hero films. In the Marvel/Disney Thor franchise, he played Heimdall, one of the most powerful guardians of Asgard. Inside DC Comic’s Suicide Squad, the British star played the villain Bloodthirsty who was arrested for putting Superman in the ICU, after shooting him with a kryptonite bullet. In fact, the character should win a series. The actor, who also has films such as Pacific Rim (2013) and After That Mountain (2017) on his resume, appears as a favorite to play agent James Bond, after the departure of Daniel Craig.

The Beast follows a recipe that has always worked in Hollywood, which is to bet on animals as villains. Crocodiles, snakes, dinosaurs, dogs, piranhas, spiders and monkeys, for example, have already made many people afraid in cinemas. Even figures of harmless animals were able to cause amazement. Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, managed to turn birds into ruthless killers in the 1963 film. A bird could easily be scared away, but a flock of these angry animals, gouging out the eyes of the population of a small California town, terrified audiences.

The film industry’s first major blockbuster was with an animal. Steven Spielberg turned a great white shark into an iconic villain. The 1975 film went down in history for being the first to surpass the $100 million mark at the North American box office. In addition, it was nominated for four Oscars, including best picture – losing to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, winning in the editing, sound and soundtrack categories – for the iconic theme by maestro John Williams. The success was so great that the title won three sequels – without Spielberg – and several derivatives.

This isn’t the first time lions have been treated like villains on the big screen. Stephen Hopkins’s Shadow and Darkness (1996) is perhaps the greatest classic in portraying the kings of the jungle as man-eaters in the fictionalized version of the lion attacks in Tsavo, western Kenya. At the end of the 20th century, an engineer, played by Val Kilmer, goes to Africa to build a bridge, but ends up coming across two killer lions that terrorize the workers, as several victims are made and even with the arrival of an experienced hunter, played by Michael Douglas, the killings continue.

Plot

The Doctor. Nate Daniels is a recently widowed man who returns to South Africa, where he met his wife, on a long-planned trip with their daughters Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Meredith (Iyana Halley). The trip is a chance for a family reconnection. They head to a nature reserve run by old friend Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), a wildlife biologist. During the ride, they come across a man who has just been attacked. Dying, he says it was an action of the devil. Further on, they find a village that has been ravaged by a lion.

Something catches the group’s attention: the animal kills humans, but does not eat them, which reminds us of The Shadow and the Darkness. In the sequence, Martin asks Nate to go back to the car where his daughters are and the scene is desperate. He just barely gets eaten by a giant lion that almost breaks the glass in the door. Desperate, they try to escape, but end up crashing and are stuck in place without being able to get out of the car. This scene is another reference, now from the feature Hunted (2007), in which a stepmother and her two stepchildren are attacked by lions and are stranded in the same way.

At that moment, the lion is no longer the only problem when they are found by a band of poachers. What starts as a journey of family rediscovery, becomes a real struggle for survival. The film’s trailer suggests that the animal is the sole survivor of a hunt and that it is now killing anyone who comes its way to take revenge, which explains the king of the jungle not feeding on the bodies. The ending should reserve a cinematic duel as it shows Nate punching the animal in the face, in the best style The Predator (1987).

blood possession
Another horror movie hits the big screen this Thursday to torment the brave. Evil Twin, which marks the debut of Finnish filmmaker Taneli Mustonen in American cinema, delves into a reality of loss, pain and grief of the characters. Starring Teresa Palmer (My Boyfriend is a Zombie, 2013, and The School, 2016), the plot follows the story of Rachel and Antony (Steve Cree), a couple who lose one of their twin children in a tragic accident. After what happened, they decide to move to the other side of the world with their surviving son Elliot (Tristan Ruggeri) to start life over, but evil forces will pursue them.

What was supposed to be a time of healing in the peaceful Scandinavian countryside, turns into a nightmare for Rachel and Antony when they realize their son has dark mysteries and evil forces that seek to dominate him, as in the surprising Orphan (2009), by Jaume Collet-Serra. Elliot asks evil forces for his brother Nathan to return from the dead and share the same body with him, as the trailer reveals. From there, his mother will deal with supernatural events to try to save the little one or even survive like when she asks him “if he wouldn’t want to hurt Mommy”.

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