HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

BELOVED BEAST -- Movie Review by Porfle




An impressive, often brilliant horror-thriller that's miles above much of what's coming out of the genre these days, BELOVED BEAST (Indican Pictures, 2018) excells on almost all levels and comes off like something Quentin Tarantino might do if he really got serious about making a grim, mind-bending horror movie.

Nina (Sanae Loutsis) is the injured survivor of a car crash that kills her parents and puts her in the home of a surly, irresponsible aunt, Erma Ritz (Joy Yaholkovsky), who doesn't want her.  Erma's a dopehead who is friends with the lowest elements in town including its worst criminal, Ash (Earl Gray), who deals not only in drugs but human trafficking as well, and will soon set his sights on Nina.

Meanwhile, the biggest, craziest, scariest psycho ever (Jonathan Holbrook as "Milton Treadwell") has just turned the asylum into a corpse-strewn charnel house and escaped into the wild.  A horribly disfigured behemoth with the mind of a ten-year-old, Milton will eventually murder his way to Nina, who will mistake him for the Rabbit King in her favorite fantasy story that her parents used to read to her.


There's a lot of story contriving going on here, but it all works so well that we don't really care. Milton ends up wearing the big rabbit-head mask that belonged to Nina's father and protecting her from all potential harm, mainly by slinging a hefty wooden mallet that smashes skulls with one blow. 

Milton smashes a lot of skulls in this movie--sometimes those belonging to people who deserve a good skull smashing, and sometimes to nice people in the wrong place, wrong time.

But lest you think BELOVED BEAST is just some slasher/smasher flick, writer-director Jonathan Holbrook (TALL MEN, CUSTOMER 152) has crafted this thing like a true artiste, loading it to the gills with fascinating characters exchanging sharp, smart dialogue and situations that are either tongue-in-cheek funny (I love the scenes between the jaded police chief and his constantly appalled rookie deputy) or blood-chillingly grim (as when Ash meets "The Belgian", a bad guy so vile and inhuman that even he is taken aback). 


Direction and photography are top-notch, as is a cast of excellent actors making the most of their fully-rounded, often eccentric characters, each of whom contributes added delight to the story.  The narrative often lapses into a sort of fever dream quality, as when Erma's drug-fueled house party turns surreal or Nina's head injury has her imagining rabbit-headed, hammer-wielding Milton as her fairytale savior.

Switching easily between horror film and ultra-gritty crime thriller that's occasionally dipped in delirium, BELOVED BEAST is one of the most heady, engaging, and thoroughly entertaining movies I've seen in the last ten years. It's only flaw is its length--at almost three hours, the ending is stretched out way longer than necessary--but its overall awesomeness more than makes up for being a bit too much of a good thing. 




Share/Save/Bookmark

No comments: