REVIEW: THE BEAST WITHIN / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: PHILIPPE MORA / SCREENPLAY: TOM HOLLAND / STARRING: RONNY COX, BIBI BESCH, PAUL CLEMENS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
An '80s cult horror film which opens with a woman being raped in the woods by some sort of demented man-beast, The Beast Within follows the child of that rape (also not entirely human) as his inner monster begins to emerge, complete with spectacularly ghastly special effects. His mission: to fulfil his primal urges and, um, find someone else to rape in turn. Just another Arrow Video re-release, everybody.
Like An American Werewolf in London by way of Species, Teen Wolf and H.P. Lovecraft (not for nothing is one character named Dexter Ward), Philippe Mora's creature feature distinguishes itself from the rest with a sense of ambition and its remarkably sweaty-looking visual effects. Unfortunately, that ambition doesn't always translate into coherency, while its down-and-dirty looks often come across as unsavoury. A sequence in which a man is murdered while surrounded by his own burger meat (not a euphemism) almost had me turn vegetarian. Still, this is a film in which a lad's head swells up like an overfilled water balloon, so there is some fun to be had. At times, its effects are as impressive as An American Werewolf. If only it had the same sense of humour and likeability.
An ideal candidate for the Arrow treatment, The Beast Within comes loaded with the usual host of special features and goodies. This includes interviews (with the likes of writer Tom Holland and actors Paul Clemens and Katherine Moffat), audio commentaries, a collector's booklet and exclusive reversible sleeve. Released in 1080p High Definition and standard DVD, it's never looked better – or worse, in the case of all that sweaty meat (still not a euphemism).
A well-acted, well-presented and impressively unpleasant curio, this (very) cult horror is yet another beast of a re-release from Arrow.
Extras: See above