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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review: Beloved Beast

Director: Jonathan Holbrook
Screenplay: Jonathan Holbrook
Year: 2019

After her parents’ dramatic death in a car crash, Nina is relocated to live with her aunt Erma. Erma is not very happy with the idea of having her life disrupted by her niece, with whom she has barely had any contact. While Nina tries to couple with her new life, a dangerous assassin roams the town she lives in causing chaos, who ends up becoming her friend.

The first warning I must give about this movie is its runtime, which extends to 174 minutes. Was it necessary for this movie to be so long? Not really, and truth be told, it would have benefited from being edited to the point of reducing at least an hour of unnecessary scenes, and this is its major problem. As what usually happens with movies that run for so long, many of the scenes end up being just filling and the pacing suffers greatly.

Alongside its long runtime, the script is another problem of this movie. It gives the impression that the director, screenwriter and actor Jonathan Holbrook (“Tall Men”) couldn’t decide on which genre to develop his story and opted to combine some of them as children fantasy, ‘80’s slasher movies, grief, and mafia. As a consequence, it develops several parallel stories that feel too isolated from one another. Of course, at a certain point, all these stories intermingle, but it doesn’t happen in the best way and leaves to many plot holes and underdeveloped characters. Some characters disappear from the screen for a long time while other stories are being presented and this makes it hard to remember the last thing they did.

On the other hand, even with its problems, the plot is interesting. While the characters and their conflicts are being laid out it affects the rhythm, in part thanks to the lengthy scenes that contribute little to the story, but the violent scenes manage to give it some dynamism. Although much of the violence takes place off the visual field of the camera, those that are inside are well done and can be uncomfortable to the more sensitive viewers. 

The visual and camera effects from director Holbrook gives a different version of him from that of the script. The audiovisual work is good and ends up being one of the high points of the movie. The cast, led by Sanae Loutsis (“The Black String”), Jonathan Holbrook, and Joy Yaholkovsky (“Rogue Saints”) in general is good, but inevitably some actors chew the scenery to the point of being a distraction. All the fantastic story about the Rabbit King is very creative and even when it might seem related to Easter and reminds of movies such as “Rottentail”, it has nothing to do with this.

“Beloved Beast” reminded me of the same problem that suffered “I Spit In Your Grave: Deja Vu”: they are movies with the potential of being a lot better if edited correctly, but they preferred to bet for unnecessarily long scenes and stories. It presents an unorthodox story with potential, but with too many unnecessary scenes and situations that instead of helping it, end up causing plot holes. The final stretch and the violent scenes try to overcome the rest of the problems, but these are too prominent to be ignored. Taking into consideration the given warnings, this is a movie worth watching.

“Beloved Beast” is produced by Indican Pictures and will be available in limited theaters, digital platforms, and DVD on October 11, 2019.

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