We have to wade through a lot of short films here at Movie Ramblings, and one of the biggest issues we have is those that try to cram far too many ideas or images into their mini-project, leaving it nothing more than a confused mess.

No such problems with The Beast though, a stripped-down, tension-packed 12 minutes that keeps things simple, and is all the better for it.

Opting to focus on the trusted classic that is the legend of the werewolf, director Peter Dukes’ entertaining effort centres (and in fact only features) three characters – a loving father, a son (who just happens to have the curse), and a family friend.

Shot entirely at night, the short looks at the dilemma faced by a father (played by genre favourite Bill Oberst Jr), when confronted by the knowledge that, as it is a full moon, his son is likely to start sprouting hair and slashing throats.

The father and the family friend Douglas (Peter Le Bas) come to the decision to tie Jacob (Alexander Le Bas) to a tree for the night to curb his desires, but then a gun gets involved and things take a turn for the worst…..

There’s a real old-school vibe that is very welcome here – not quite Hammer, but setting the short in an unspecified time of yesteryear is a really nice touch.

As is the decision to film in darkness, which adds to the air of tension, along with an effective soundtrack.

The trio of performances are all noteworthy – Oberst Jr, who quite frankly has a ridiculous work ethic (having popped up in double-digit films in 2013 alone), anchors the film with real emotion, making you really believe in the moral quandary faced by a father in that position.

Both Peter Le Bas and Alexander Le Bas emerge with credit, turning a piece that could easily have slid into pure hokum into something a lot more eye-catching.

All this would be nothing of course without some talent behind the camera, and Dukes delivers the goods, pitching the right mood straight from the off and holding that level of tension for the entire, albeit brief, running time.

That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though, considering the director has been honing his craft on shorts since 2000, with a move into feature-length productions planned for next year.

But don’t just take our word for it – check out The Beast for yourself below:

 

 

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.