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Beloved Beast

USA 2019
produced by
Nicholas Shargas, Jonathan Holbrook (executive), Dave Shecter (executive), Earl Gray (executive) for Chronicle Factory
directed by Jonathan Holbrook
starring Sanae Loutsis, Joy Yaholkovsky, Jonathan Holbrook, Earl Gray, Tabitha Bastien, Paul Sobrie, Andrew Tribolini, Morgen Johnson, Darryl Robert Small, Luke Schuck, Dave Shecter, Meredith Binder, Bruce Weech, Sam Schragel, King Amir Allahyar, Ben Leiataua, Lillybeth Held, Bailey Smart-Zimmerman, Caleb Ryden, Sheila Houlahan, Lance Caver, James Pinto, Elizabeth Rhoades, Raúl E. Peyret, Teddy Shipley, Gina Kessler, William Poole, Jason Whited, Michelle Stahl, Elena Stecca, Kino McFarland, Jeff Barber, Aaron L. Ocheltree, Nicole Spry, Scott Linson, Dane Castleton, Khoe King, Amanda Yeoman Brooke, Adrienne Jordan, Amy T. Sherman, Esha More, Kennedy Stinson, Cristopher Berns, Glen Nelson Bristow, Christina Williams, narration by Ty Anderson
written by Jonathan Holbrook, music by Sara Broshofske, cello performed by Kakophonix, special effects makeup by Ret Harrison, visual effects by Pavel Ushakov

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Young Nina (Sanae Loutsis) has just lost her parents in a car accident, so she's put in care of her aunt Erma (Joy Yaholkovsky), who really is in no position to take care of a kid, especially one she doesn't even know since she has fallen out with her sister ages ago. Basically, Erma is unemployed, loves to party, isn't really adverse to drug use, is behind in her rent, and is hardly able to take care of herself. And since she's in constant need of money, she has accepted a job from Ash (Earl Gray), local bad guy, doing a few drug runs. What she doesn't know is that Ash is also into human trafficking, and he has set his eyes on Nina, someone he knows local torture and snuff movie producer the Belgian (Paul Sobrie) might pay top Dollar for - and even if it sickens him what the Belgian does, Ash isn't one to shy away from heaps of money ...

Being on her own most of the time because Erma tends to be out or sleeping it off most of the time, Nina wanders the woods surrounding the town, living in her fantasy world where she's the daughter of the Rabbit King - but in the woods she makes many a vile discovery, culminating in her running into a trio of young wannabe Satanists (Lillybeth Held, Bailey Smart-Zimmerman, Caleb Ryden) who want to make her the centerpiece of a blood sacrifice. And this is when the Rabbit King saves her, killing the Satanists. The Rabbit King is actually an escaped and highly dangerous lunatic, Milton (Jonathan Holbrook), who has killed his way through the neighbourhood and actually found the rabbit mask she dropped earlier rather by chance, to don it to his outfit - but it's enough to have her believe she's the actual Rabbit King, and her admiration in turn finds a soft spot with him. Soon she takes him home with her, and gives him abode in a neighbouring treehouse, and in return he takes care of her much better than Erma, who's presently on a drug run through half the country, ever could - even if that means killing the occasional friend of Nina's. It's really when the greedy landlord (Dave Shecter), Ash and his goons, and the police come all in quick succession that things come to a head ...

 

Now this is quite an unusual movie: In a way it's a slasher blended with Beauty and the Beast motives, wrapped in crime drama and peppered with twisted small town Americana - and the outcome is like nothing you've ever seen, a sick modern day fairy tale (sick in a good way) that's certainly not for the squeamish. There are two things that really make this film though, for one, is that it's very successful in creating its own "world" with its own rules, and on the other that there is no clear distinction between good and evil, and while many of the "good guys" are deeply fallible, the not so good guys are at least relatable, and Milton, the baddest of them all, is in a way also a tragic and misunderstood hero. And of course, an atmospheric directorial effort and a strong cast really help to bring this story to life.

Well worth a watch for sure.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD