The Beast Within Reviews
The Best Transormation-Scene of its kind.
Hey, its a lot like an HP LOVECRAFT stories woven into one (including The Case of Charles Dexter Ward).
The film opens with an uncomfortable rape scene where a woman is assaulted by a swamp beast. Jump to 17 years later we learn the assault resulted in a child... and he is going through some ghastly changes. It seems his real fathers genetics are awakening and now our young lad with a bad temper and dermatology problem sets out for bloody vengeance against the family that killed his pa.
Though on a basic level it's a simple monster on the loose film, the film still suffers from some major plot issues as many aspects are NEVER explained. First of all why did our youth's mutant pa become a mutant? How does our young fella know the family that killed his pa and all the members? I can't blame Tom Holland's script as the film seems to have had been tinkered with and in the process a lot of the explanations were left on the editing room floor. Apparently, after doing a little research, the beastly transformations have to do with some Native American legend but thanks to the film we, the audience, NEVER know that.
The film is notorious in the horror community, along with "The Howling", for pioneering the use of bladder special effects in transformation scenes... and believe me fans of practicable special effects will get an eye full as our youngster goes through a tremendous transformation into a beast while at a hospital. Fans of gore will also get plenty to sink their teeth into as our beast brutally kills anyone connected with his pa's murder.
Philippe Mora's direction is surprisingly atmospheric and he takes the subject matter far more seriously than one would expect. The moody lighting and the sometimes overbearing score also heighten some of the scares. Still there are still a few unintentional laughs to be had, especially during out youths transformation scene when everyone stares in horror, without out shooting or running. Come on guys, get the fuck out of there! This scene would be wonderfully spoofed by Mora in his film "Howling III."
The cast is top for such a graphic monster romp, headed by Ronny Cox as our loving father, a refreshing role before director Paul Verhoeven got a hold of him and turned him into one of the nastiest villains of all time in "RoboCop" and "Total Recall". Paul Clemens gives a virtuoso performance as the teenager before the transformation by conveying pain and confusion without the aid of makeup and special effects in the first half of the film.
As a gooey, bloody monster flick "The Beast Within" works but it's plot holes that were left on the cutting room's floor and a rushed ending makes this sadly an unsatisfactory film by the end. It's still far better than one would imagine with its surprisingly good direction by Philippe Mora and its strong cast. Definitely worth checking out, especially for fans of practical special effects.
An entertaining horror flick.
Bloody carnage is shown periodically. The killings and the final transformation are sickening and depraved. The plot (full of holes) is very confusing and doesn't make sense, even though the characters attempt to explain the happenings. However, I must say that the acting and even the directing is adequate for this material.
The story admittedly doesn't make sense on several levels. Why someone who was locked in a basement and force-fed flesh from human corpses should develop the ability to talk to insects and reincarnate in the body of his own offspring is never remotely explained. All we know is that somehow this person, named Billy Conner, turned into a monster, got loose and raped Bibi Besch. Flash forward 17 years and the progeny of this attack is 17 and has some sort of disease... but it isn't a disease. It's his real father taking over his body to get revenge on the members of the family who locked him in the cellar and forced him into cannibalism. Numerous bladders inflate, skin splits, the monster's back and does it again, leaving a very open ending. Some gore and a couple of relatively creative kills in the meanwhile.
"The Beast Within" is quite cheezy and fun if not taken seriously. It will scare no one, but it has enough entertaining moments to be enjoyed by fans of B-grade horror flicks in an MST3K way, at least. The acting ranges from mediocre to laughable; the film is noteworthy, however, for two reasons. First, it was one of the first flicks to use air bladders in horror makeup. Second, it has a cast of supporting actors who also appeared in everything from "Easy Rider" to "Designing Women." On it's own, it's essentially "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" meets "The Bad Seed" meets Roger Corman. Watch and be amazed, amused and get ready to crack wise all over this one!
There's some interesting practical effects, and the mystery of the boy's biological father is intriguing enough, but the jump from 'madman' to the supernatural place the film ends up left me feeling like i missed some element of the plot.
Possibly worth a rental.
record, the original cover for the theatrical release and direct to video
were much better) this movie really does suck and badly.
As far as the plot goes let's see... couple gets a flat tire, wife gets raped
by a big thing, her son starts having health problems, eventually turning
into what his "father" was, a beast.
The ending is no less bad than the beginning film. In fact, the utter
incompetence of the characters in the film is mind-blowing. They could
have helped this kid, but for the entire movie...yeah, epic failure.
The kid himself is a terrible actor, so when he struggles with his body
eventually changing him into the monster, there's no attachment, much
less sentiment felt by we the audience for this character. And that right
there spells failure on the film's part.
Also, this is one very very boring movie. Ya know, if a horror film is gonna
suck, at least be mildly entertaining. Unfortunately, this movie fails to do
even that right.
As for his eventual transformation? Disappointing as all kinds of hell. It's
not even good by classic 60's transformation standards. If you want an
even worse comparison, his true form looks crappier than anything
spawned from a Power Ranger show.
Stay away from this one. Far far away.