Beast hails from Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur (Adrift, 2 Guns) with cinematographer Philippe Roousselot capturing this tale of a rogue animal terrorizing a family. With a ninety minute runtime, you may consider taking a chance on Idris Elba and Sharlto Copley facing off against a menacing lion.

Be warned, Beast is a genre B-movie that does little to reinvent or entertain, relying solely on the charisma of Elba and Copley. As engaging as the actors are onscreen, it’s not enough to raise this August release above the benchmark of basic survival thriller. Roousselot’s camerawork successfully pumps up the excitement and tension at several points, but it can’t make up for a lackluster script credited to Ryan Engle.

We’ve seen Elba play a convincing and caring father in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad (2021). With Beast, he once again slides into the role of a father redeeming himself through some extreme measures of protecting his own cubs against a larger, fiercer predator. Unfortunately, Engle’s script makes the children so inept that you may very well find yourself rooting against them.

One can’t avoid comparing Beast with the recent Predator film, Prey, as they both examine the pecking order of the animal kingdom and defending one’s family (or tribe) from external forces. Surprisingly, it’s Beast that requires more suspension of disbelief — not Hulu’s alien-safari-film set in the 1700s.

Beast is a palpable slice of summer entertainment that demands little of the viewer, and as a result you won’t hate this 90-minute-toothy-adventure… but chances are, you won’t be talking about the film beyond the walk back to the car.

Letter Grade: D

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron Burton is the Awards Editor and Chief Critic at Awards Focus and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Byron is a voting member of the Television Academy, Critics Choice Association, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists (the SCL) for his work on Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse (2016). Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's "Behind the Slate" Screening Series and their "Spotlight Live" event at the American Legion in Hollywood. Byron covered the six person panel for Universal's "NOPE" as well as panels for Hulu's "Pam & Tommy Lee" and "Welcome to Chippendales" and HBO Max's "Barry" and "Euphoria."

For songwriters and composers, Byron is a frequent moderator for panels with the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) as well as The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, The Witcher & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, & Lovecraft Country; Amazon Studios' The Legend of Vox Machina, Wild Cat, & Annette; and Apple TV+s Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, and 5 Days at Memorial.

In February of 2020, Byron organized and hosted the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

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