Beast Movie Review
Written by Milos Jovanovic
DVD released by Cinema Image Productions
Written and directed by Timo Rose
2009, 95 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on March 31st, 2009
Raine Brown as Amy
Joe Davison as Boomer
Timo Rose as Mike
Joseph Zaso as Alex
Thomas Kercmar as Hans Rainer
Yassmin Pucci as Mrs. Martin
Andreas Pape as Tim
It's the 21st century, and old stories resurface with new clothes. One myth which had gotten a re-imagining is the myth of werewolves, who are not isolated cases nowadays, but are rather something of an organised sect wandering around Europe and slaughtering innocents. However, their presence has also spawned another society — namely, the guys who hunt werewolves. They also exist in a form of an organization, and they have branches all around the world looking for the hairy vermin.
Boomer (Joe Davison) and Mike (Timo Rose) are two werewolf hunters, currently wandering through Germany. As their car breaks down in the middle of the road, they decide to try and look for a refuge somewhere near, and by sheer chance they stumble upon the house where Amy (Raine Brown) and Alex (Joe Zaso), brother and sister, live together. Alex is fresh back from a continental trip, where had the slight misfortune of witnessing his girlfriend getting torn by wild dogs (or so he claims at least), while Amy earns for her living as a phone sex freelancer. Boomer and Mike have simple intentions — they need some money and food to survive, but their visit turns into something less ordinary as the story unfolds...
It's been ten years since his debut (Mutation, 1999) and the German maverick Timo Rose is going stronger than ever. Now firmly entrenched within the new wave of DV horror, the ever-productive Rose (this is his 19th directorial feature) delivers us yet another piece of cheeky schlock from his stable. This time, Rose tackles werewolves, and the end result feels somewhat only too familiar to the seasoned horror reviewer such as myself — it could've been something, but alas.
Making a werewolf movie work is tough, especially with high standards set by such genre classics as American Werewolf in London or The Howling. Rose, being well aware of this apparently, takes another route and opts for a more interesting approach, by organising werewolves and hunters in separate clans. Good idea, indeed, but the problem is that it is too poorly fleshed out. Throughout the film, we learn almost nothing about either of the two — werewolf hunters are represented with a series of video-calls between supporting characters, which hint at something, yet reveal almost nothing. One little bit tells us that such divisions apparently exist for more than a few decades, and another informs the viewer about the presence of bases scattered all across the world. Still, the very nature of this society remains secretive, and that takes much of the background plotline away.
The focus is thus on Boomer and Mike, a wise-cracking duo which is on the prowl somewhere around Germany. Rose fashions the two characters much like poor man's Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, so we are treated to a seemingly endless barrage of jokes and oneliners both serve out with relentless pace in between (and during) action scenes. The main plot arc is fused from their story and the Amy/Alex subplot, in which Alex, as you find out very soon, has something to hide from his sister. Once the four people meet, real action starts. All four leads are competently acted, especially Boomer, who seems to have the best lines in the script. Apart from them, there is a gallery of side characters which are not too interesting and mainly add padding. There is Amy's mother, who has a very strained relationship with Alex (apparently not her real son), and also runs a part-time crime operation with two halfwit punks (the male part of the duo is played by the Rose regular Thomas Kercmar). Her role comes more clear towards the ending, but it's something that really we could have done without.
Rose's script, based on a concept developed by Mark Hyacinth, tries very hard to be hip and frisky, but falls flat most of the time. As mentioned, only Boomer (and Mike, to some extent) seem to speak out their lines with a degree of comfort — the rest is either hammy (Amy's mother), or plain bad (the girl robber, who has some very stupid monologs throughout). Also, some characters are severely underwritten — I, for one, wanted to know badly what are two American siblings doing in the middle of Germany, especially Amy. My guess is that she is living somewhere near Kaiserslautern and phone "servicing" American soldiers in the nearby base, but this is just a stab in the dark.
The strong point of this film is easily the effects department. There is an impressive transformation sequence, which was obviously inspired by Rick Baker's work on American Werewolf in London, which looks even better if you consider the shoestring budget this film was (presumably) shot on. The bloodletting looks very decent, and there is some interesting carnage in the opening scenes which show a bunch of German hunters out in some Romanian bush. The action scenes in the last third of the movie are a letdown compared to the opener though, especially Amy's fight with a werewolf which looks way too jokey for its own good, coupled with some howlers such as "take this, Amy-style !".
I can't fault Timo Rose for trying hard and having his heart in the right place — to me, it looked like everyone involved in this film was having a real good time. But Beast is, sadly, not something I'd recommend to others, and therefore it falls under the "JAIH" banner — "Just Another Indie Horror".
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.