On August 19, 2022, a new man against nature film will hit the big screen: The beast. With Idris Elba, the actor will come face to face with a lion on a deadly path. This film is directed by Baltasar Kormákur and distributed by Universal Pictures. Kormákur is known for his survival films, having directed Adrift and Everest. With Elba, the film stars Leah Jeffries (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), Sharlto Copley (District 9), and Iyana Halley (It’s us).
Idris Elba is a fan-favorite actor across all genres and has starred in both the Marvel and DC Universes. In this film, he embodies a biologist who faces nature itself. Elba is not the first actor to face nature (or lions) in the cinema. This new film is an example of the fascination humans have with facing something or someone deadlier and stronger. These topics are explored in a subgenre of horror called natural or eco-horror films.
An overview of natural horror movies
The definition of a natural horror film is simply a subgenre of horror that features natural forces that pose a threat to human characters. Usually these natural forces are plants or animals. There is no limit to how strong a human opposition can be. This subgenre can mix with other genres, such as survival.
Humanity vs. Animals stories were written long before movies. In fact, a book inspired the movie which is considered to be the first natural horror movie. Moby-Dick. It’s a classic story that revolves around the idea of man versus whale. The film adaptation was titled sea beasta silent film released in 1926. It was directed by Millard Webb, and from there the genre grew and shaped itself in many ways.
Various famous directors have dabbled in the eco-horror subgenre. Alfred Hitchcock scared the world with his 1963 film The Birds. Steven Spielberg created chaos and lifelong fears of sharks and beaches with his 1975 film Jaws. In recent years there has been the 2019 of Alexandre Aja Crawl about alligators stuck with humans in a Florida basement after a hurricane.
The impact of natural horror movies
All of the films listed above have impacted society in some way. Jaws is most notable, as many studies have been done on the effect these films have had. A study by researcher and professor at the University of South Australia, Brianna Le Busque, stated:
“Do this search [on the news media], I realized that the media had a very big impact on how people perceive sharks. There are a few studies that have examined Jaws specifically…but there was no research on shark movies more generally…I wanted to see if it was similar to Jaws or not.”
Studies also suggest that shark populations have plummeted since the release of Jaws and the films that follow. However, it’s not just the big scary creatures that can be cast in a negative light. We have seen humans attack frogs (Frogs, 1972), bats (Bats1999), ants (Ants!1977), beavers (Zombeavers2014), shrews (killer shrews1959), the slugs (Slugs: the movie1988), and even man’s best friend (Cujo1983).
Enter the beast
The Nature and Survival Horror Movie of 2022 The beast promises to be a breathtaking event. The official plot, as published by Universal Pictures, is as follows:
“A recently widowed husband returns to South Africa, where he first met his wife, on a long-planned trip with his two teenage daughters to a game reserve run by an old family friend and fellow wildlife biologist. Soon, however, a ferocious man-hunting lion begins attacking them and devouring anyone in its path.
Idris Elba co-star Iyana Halley spoke about the film’s suspense and, of course, the “LION” in an interview with Haute Living:
“Cinephiles can expect many twists and turns and lots of suspense!! I think one of the many cool things about this movie is that it has relatable elements, including family life and issues, and well… we can’t forget the LION!!! It’s sure to put everyone on the edge of their seat. I can’t wait to see it in theaters with other people and hear their reactions! It will definitely keep you on your toes”
The film was shot in South Africa at three locations: Limpopo, Northern Cape and Cape Town. This film will surely be able to bring the scary and complex world of poaching and wildlife to life.
The public will be able to discover this new film on August 19, 2022 in cinemas across the country.