A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.

A father and his daughters are trapped in the African Savanna by a vicious lion in . Dr. Nate Samuels () has travelled with his daughters Meredith () and Norah () to a wildlife reserve in the African Savanna, near where Nate's late wife grew up. While shown the reserve by friend and game warden Martin Battles (), the group finds that a nearby village has been decimated by an attack by a lion, enraged by poachers that killed its pride. When their truck breaks down by the side of a cliff, Nate has to find a way to survive and protect his family.

Beast is a survival film directed by Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns), starring Idris Elba as a man trying to protect his family from a lion that has become aggressive towards humans. This trip to Africa begins as a way for Dr. Nate Samuels to reconnect with his daughters, who had become somewhat estranged from him after he separated from his wife shortly before she died from cancer. However, this trip becomes a struggle for survival after the family and their guide Martin is attacked by a lion and left stranded by the side of a cliff. With limited resources, Nate has to find a way to protect his daughters and get to safety.

The “animal attacks” subgenre of film crosses the spectrum of everything from Jaws and The Edge to Piranha and The Meg. Beast is arguably one of the better examples of this subgenre since the focus is more on survival than gory animal attacks, even though the film does have its fair share of grizzly moments.

One positive thing that Beast does is that the film establishes that lions attacking humans are more the exception rather than the rule. An early scene sees Sharlto Copley's game warden Martin show off a pride of lions that he helped to raise, and they approach him in a very affectionate manner, jumping up and hugging him. When another lion later attacks the group, Martin theorizes that it has “gone rogue” after having its pride decimated by poachers.

Those going by the marketing for Beast and expecting the film to be about Idris Elba fighting a lion in hand-to-hand combat won't end up disappointed. However, Beast also ends up being somewhat more than that, as it depicts a broken man reconciling his mistakes from the past as he tries to protect his daughters from danger.

Trailer for Beast

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.