BEAST Review — Toothless, But Not Without Some Bite

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Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Beast review says that not even the mighty Idris Elba can fight off the attack of a silly script and sloppy storytelling.

Beast reviewThe premise sounds promising enough: A distraught widower takes his two teenage daughters back to the African bush where their mother was born and raised. What begins as a reconnection with their heritage turns into a confrontation with one of nature’s most powerful and terrifying predators. (A real one, not a dinosaur or a giant ape or lizard).

But all that promise starts whithering from the very start. When daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Nora (Leah Jeffries) disembark from a small plane in Africa complaining bitterly and somewhat humorously about the intense heat, as teenagers do.

Doesn’t it occur to them to remove their layers of sweaters, hoodies and jackets zipped up to their chins?

Yeah, this movie like that, and it gets much, much worse — no one does the obvious and everyone goes for the least logical option—even the alligators. Are we supposed to be surprised when it doesn’t always go well?

I’m still trying to figure out why Idris Elba (who plays the father) would even consider a project like this. Surely he realized that a scene in which he gets a powerful, vicious lion to back off by kicking it in the face would be a hard sell?

And why does his character even bother to tell his chirpy daughters to “Stay here,” when they get up and go—every single time.

Now I will say this for Beast—it’s not without its moments. Despite the ridiculous setups, there are some fine dashes of suspense, a decent jump scare or two and some fairly decent CGI action.

Also, it’s a tight hour and a half. There’s something to be said for director Baltasar Kormákur’s ability to tell a full story in a reasonable amount of time.

But I found myself spending more than half of that time waiting for the big reveal that the lion was an alien or had been close by when a nuclear experiment went awry, because he had the most amazing superpowers and uncanny human motivations. The whole plot revolves around the lion seeking vengeance against all humans because poachers decimated his pride.

And I thought only Disney animated movies had animals seeking revenge.

Throughout the film we hear the phrase repeatedly, “Lions don’t do this!” Elba probably shouldn’t have done it either.

Rated R

1 Hour 33 Minutes

If, after reading Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Beast review, you’re still inclined to stalk the cineplex, get times and tickets at

Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Beast review says that not even the mighty Idris Elba can fight off the attack of a silly script and whiskery storytelling.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She recently founded the new lifestyle website, where celebrities and experts share their 5 favorite things in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, wellness, home and food & drink.

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  1. […] is, of course gobsmacked by the djinn’s appearance in her hotel room—he’s played by Idris Elba, after […]

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