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Beast: A Critical Analysis from Aesthetics to Audience Reviews

This article offers a critical analysis of Beast, a 2022 American survival thriller film that features Gambian international kora virtuoso, Sona Jobarteh. The story follows a widowed father and his two teenage daughters who visit a South African game reserve, Mopani Reserve, but must fight to survive when they are stalked and attacked by a ferocious, rogue, bloodthirsty lion (“Beast (2022 American Film),” 2022).

The analysis of this movie indicates a narrative arc anchored on three themes: family healing, friendship, and human-wild relationship.

Human-wild relationship

A key theme for this movie is how the relationship between humans and wildlife is being shaped by the former’s continuous overreaches against the latter. The movie demonstrates the acrimonious relationship between humans and nature’s inhabitants, building on similar movies like the Zoo. Zoo, an American drama television series based on the 2012 novel of the same name, features a group of varied professionals who investigate the mysterious outbreak of violent animal attacks upon humans all over the world (Zoo (TV Series), n.d.). Both the Beast and Zoo share distinct narrative arcs (albeit some differences), demonstrating what could happen if the wild animals feel threatened by human actions. That is why Martin could be heard in the Beast saying, “I have never seen anything like this; cats don’t do this.” Martin made the comments after they came across a small village where the lion obliterated the entire village. Martin feels “lions don’t do this” as he reacts to the savagely butchered human bodies by the raging lion. The bodies were in such bad shapes that both Martin and Nate agreed the kids could not see the gruesomeness that visited that thatch-built tiny village. The actions of the poachers caused the lion’s violent reactions, leaving in its wake, a pile of badly pierced human bodies.


The deliberate design of starting the movie with night scenes was a great aesthetic decision by the producers. The grunts of an invincible lion pride in the dark, the footfall as the poachers slowly made their move, and the low-key lighting were all designed to create anxiety and suspense, thus preparing the audience for what lies ahead.

The producers’ decision to feature a piece of African music by renowned international artiste Sona Jobarteh as Nate woke up from his dream in the South African airspace, was very creative. The melodious voice of Sona Jobarteh and her kora-inspired music have given the movie a tremendous aesthetic feel.

A very innovative aesthetic decision in the movie was the use of photos and graphics to tell an important story – Nate’s relationship with her deceased wife.

Things to Improve

By all accounts, this is a good production. However, this analysis discovers certain issues that could have been made better to strengthen the movie. For example, some scenes gave the audience an easy prediction of what was to come. For example, it was simplistic for Nate to risk his and his daughters’ lives to search for keys to a badly needed poachers’ vehicle. Instead of venturing into the woods, Nate could have simply hotwired the vehicle. But his decision to search for the key was meant to create scenes of another encounter with the lion.

This analysis finds mixed reactions from the audience. A Google rating based on the reviews gives the movie three stars or 3.0 over 5.0 (Review of Beast Movie – Google Search, n.d.).


This paper also finds this movie spreadable. Spreadability, part of the seven principles of Transmedia Storytelling, is the ability and degree to which the content is shareable and the motivating factors for a person to share that content (Jenkins, 2010). In the context of this, the biggest boost to this movie was given by the “King of TikTok” (Stokel-Walker, 2022), Khaby Lame, who boasts over 150 million followers on TikTok. Khaby made a one-minute video, featuring the main protagonist, Edris Elba.

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