The Beast Within
Film: The Beast Within
Director: Philippe Mora
Writer: Tom Holland
Starring: Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch and Paul Clemens
This film begins in a small town in Mississippi in 1965. We have a couple that is just married. They are stopped asking for directions. The man is played by Ronny Cox and the woman by Bibi Besch. They have their dog with them as well. They miss the turn they were told to take and Cox tries to turn around, but gets stuck. He goes back to the gas station to get a tow truck.
We then see something is locked in a cellar of a house, but it breaks free. It then walks through the woods.
Back in the car, Besch lets the dog out and then goes after it. She is stalked by the thing in the woods. She ends getting knocked out and the figure rapes her. Cox returns with the tow truck and finds his wife. He helps her out of the woods.
We then shift 17 years into the future. Cox and Besch have a son that is very sick and the doctors do not know what is wrong with him. We learn that this couple does not talk about what happened to her, but Besch states they need to go back to that town to find out who their son’s real father is and to see if that knowledge could help them. Before they leave, they say good bye to him, he is played by Paul Clemens.
Cox and Besch split up with Cox speaking to the judge in the court house, played by Don Gordon, while Besch speaks with the man who runs the newspaper, played by Logan Ramsey. Both of them state the town is quiet and they have not heard of any crimes that they are describing. It isn’t until after that we learn they are related and they do not want it to get out what happened in town. Besch does look through the old newspapers before she leaves Ramsey’s business and learns there was a murder 17 years ago.
The couple then decides to speak with the sheriff, played by L.Q. Jones. He is a little bit freer with information. He was a deputy at the time they are asking about. He informs them of the crime that Besch found in the newspaper.
That night, Clemens escapes the hospital and makes his way to the small town. He is drawn there by something. He ends up at Ramsey’s house after crashing his car. Ramsey believes he is the delivery boy and lets him in. He acts weird and states he will make him dinner. Clemens attacks and kills him. From there, he ends up at the house of a young woman, played by Katherine Moffat.
The local doctor is played by R.G. Armstrong and he has Clemens in his clinic. His parents arrive to check on him to find that he is doing better. Cox and Besch continue to see what they can uncover about this town, now working with Armstrong and Jones.
Clemens doesn’t want to leave and is attracted to Moffat. He goes to visit her and when they go for a walk, they start to kiss. Her dog ends up finding a hand. Moffat’s father is played by John Dennis Johnston and he is irate to find out that she was off in the woods with Clemens. Jones, his deputy Meshach Taylor and the rest of his crew begin a dig to see if they can find the rest of the body that hand belongs to. Cox helps them. They end up uncovering more bodies and ones that should be buried in the cemetery.
Luke Askew, the local mortuary worker, is checked out next. We learn that he is related to Gordon as well, along with Johnston. What secrets are they hiding?
What is happening to Clemens? He meets with a town drunk, played by Ron Soble, and we learn this thing that Clemens is talking to might have been a real person. Is Clemens going crazy or is there something really happening to him? Can he stop it?
I have to say that coming into this film. I was quite interested to see what it was all about. I do like some parts of this. I think the acting is really good for a relatively obscure film. Cox, Besch and the rest of the cast were pretty solid. I don’t mind most of Clemens as he loses control. I thought the story was pretty good as well. It is a little bit weird and does have its issues, but not bad. I also thought that Moffat was cute in an innocent way as well. The transformation into the monster wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the monster that Clemens becomes.
This film as I have said does have its issues. The first one being I don’t understand how the raping of Besch would transfer this curse to Clemens, especially when the person wasn’t technically a monster. I have read that the actual novel is more about the metaphorical beast instead and not a literal monster. I think that would have been a more interesting take for this film than what they did. I wasn’t a huge fan of Clemens’ acting in this film. He was really the only one I had issues with and I felt that he was bland.
With that said, I would still recommend this film if you like low-budget, obscure horror films from the 80s. There is some pretty good acting, the revenge story isn’t bad and the transformation is pretty solid as well. It does have its issues, like what Clemens becomes, how would that be transferred to him as it was, but if you can get past that, it is a decent film to view. This might be a little farfetched for most, so keep that in mind before viewing.
My Rating: 6 out of 10