Nate, a doctor and widower, takes his daughters Mere and Norah to South Africa to try to reconcile with them, destroyed by the loss of their mother, separated from Nate for some years. For their safari in the savannah they rely on the care of Martin, a longtime friend and expert tracker. During an excursion, however, Martin runs into a tsonga village exterminated by a beast, most likely a mad lion. It is the beginning of a struggle for survival, in which Nate and his daughters will have to join forces and resort to every expedient to save themselves.
As is now customary for contemporary American cinema, rather than shooting horror tout court, producers and directors use horror in its fundamental elements – tension, jump scare, final girl – to contaminate other genres, especially thrillers and action.
Or the adventure film, as in the case of Beast by Balthasar Kormakur, which re-proposes the ancient clash between man and nature, personified by the king of the forest. The enraged lion who massacres poachers and then unleashes himself on all that is human, transforming it into his territory, at times assumes the characteristics of Spielberg’s or King Kong’s shark, even leaking the idea of a super-intelligence from “Godzillian” mutation (a suggestion rather than a cue, soon abandoned by the screenplay).
Just as it was for Spielberg, horror becomes the connective tissue of the confrontation between protagonist and antagonist, crouched in the shadows like the killer of a slasher film, ready to resort to any stratagem to corner the doctor played by Idris Elba. In the background is lost Africa, the place where we all come from but which we now consider a zoo to be explored, if not an open pit mine to be openly exploited.
Kormakur’s simplifications don’t help in this, juxtaposing a soundtrack with Malian flavors to transport us to South Africa (it would be like talking about Italy on the notes of a flamenco or a polka, roughly speaking).

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