The Short Films of DreamSeekers Productions: The Beast (2012)

In 2012 Dream Seekers Productions created The Beast, a short that brings in aspects of the classic monster movie with added depth. The werewolf element is in place as a metaphor to demonstrate a father’s internal struggle as his teenage son is cursed with the mark of the beast! The only similarities The Beast shares with Dream Seeker’s most recent short Little Reaper (2013) is the theme of parental conflict as they come to terms with their children’s transition from childhood to adulthood, focusing on those awkward in-between years. However, this is where the similarities end as The Beast couldn’t be further from Little Reaper in terms of tone. Taking a more serious edge, The Beast captures the heightened emotion of a father facing the struggle between protecting his son and doing what’s right for the rest of humanity. Rather than taking the comedic route, the film incorporates strong, dramatic performances that sets the film apart from others of a similar vein.

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Rising cult star, Bill Oberst Jr. plays the principal role of the father Michel, he brings in an emotive and heart-wrenching performance, mainly through expression as he displays his character’s plight. The close-up shots are used to convey this well while heightening the intensity of the situation. We learn that Michel’s son Jacob (Alexander Le Bas) has in fact killed, which is cleverly used as a metaphor that says despite what mistakes children make, to their parents they’ll always be their children no matter what. Alexander Le Bas plays the two sides to Jacob exceptionally well, there is a sense of conflict in place and the impression that he is able to pull on his father’s heartstrings in order to gain what he wants. Knowing Michel feels a sense of responsibility and guilt, he encourages him to untie him as the full moon is about to kick in so he can “relieve himself”. His manipulative nature demonstrates how the monster has taken over. The voice of reason comes in the form of Douglas (Peter Le Bas) who insists Michel does the right thing for his son, adding in the pressure in what’s already an intense situation.

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With a minimal setting of the woods, The Beast uses this to its advantage to create high tension throughout its thirteen minute run-time. It’s setting along with the beautifully-composed music also provides a fairy-tale quality to it. There is convincing and well-developed characters in there that have the potential to be explored further. With expectations of a possible transformation scene, the short interestingly diverts from doing so, ensuring the werewolf element isn’t the main focus over the emotions of the characters. Instead, sound is used to bring in a sense of dread as the wolf’s blood-curdling howl is heard. Other than the strength of the sound, the cinematography is absolutely flawless and breathtaking with shots of the full moon acting as a warning for what’s to come. With a story that could go either way, the ending proves satisfying. Despite the unoriginality of the story itself the film manages to establish the idea of a changing relationship between parent and child and how they come to terms with it, accompanied with dramatic and thrilling horror.

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According to IMDB, Peter Dukes is set to direct a feature with the same title for 2014, with the premise of “A young woman and some friends go on a road trip through the California backwoods in search of her missing brother and are kidnapped in a village that keeps a monster hidden away.” Scream Queen Jessica Cameron is billed as the top role which makes this film a must-see. Peter confirmed that it is in fact not a continuation to his 2012 short and the werewolf theme and title is purely coincidental. However there is already proof that Dukes has the potential to create one hell of a werewolf flick!

Watch The Beast Here:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

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