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Beast Within
Beast Within
Actors: Birthe Wolter, Philipp Danne, Anna Breuer, Marvin Gronen, Nikolas Jrgens
Directors: Wolf Wolff, Ohmuthi
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2009     1hr 33min

Several people become trapped inside a house after they discover that a virus transmitted by diseased birds has turned people into zombies.


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Movie Details

Actors: Birthe Wolter, Philipp Danne, Anna Breuer, Marvin Gronen, Nikolas Jrgens
Directors: Wolf Wolff, Ohmuthi
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/03/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Michael G. (mgmirkin) from PORTLAND, OR
Reviewed on 11/2/2010...
Ugh... Terrible.

The first half is boring. The last half is poorly acted and with bad special effects. It's worse than a Saturday night SyFy "Special Feature..." Disappointing. No zombie apocalypse here. Nothing to see, really...

Not impressed at all. Next!

Oh, and the Amazon review that's showing up on Swap-A-DVD has nothing to do with this movie. The life cycle of the cicada has nothing to do with this movie. This movie is Virus Undead (AKA, Beast Within). In theory, it's a zombie movie, and in theory, birds have something to do with it (as an infection vector?)...

It's all quite hokey. Outbreak + The Birds it ain't... If you liked either of those movies, you'll probably be offended that this movie is compared to them. Not even in the same league... Barely even on the same continent!
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

"Kill Me Now; In An Hour It'll Be Too Late!"
Robert I. Hedges | 06/04/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

""The Beast Within" is representative of the 1980's monster-inside-a-man horror genre, although the film is the only one I can think of revolving around the life cycle of the cicada. The quick version is this: Eli and Caroline MacCleary (Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch) run off a country road at night. Caroline is pulled into the woods and a giant cicada beast mates with her while her husband is away. Nine months later she delivers a healthy boy, Michael (Paul Clemens,) who lives the first seventeen years of his life fairly normally. Cicadas are on a seventeen year life cycle and so is Michael, who was conceived as a horrible act of vengeance. Even though the details are summarized by Judge Curwin (Don Gordon) at the end of the film, the plot is still fairly confusing, especially since the first half of the film is lethargically paced, making it easy for the mind to wander. Michael is possessed by a spirit making him seek to destroy the entire Curwin clan, and he does so quite efficiently, pausing only to fall for Amanda Platt (Kitty Moffat), herself a Curwin and daughter of the biggest lunatic (and double murderer) you have ever seen.

Michael is admitted to the hospital where the local doctor doesn't know what to make of him. Still the killings continue, and get more creative ("He's been embalmed alive!") The film is way over the top, especially in scenes like the electrocution of the local town drunk, and the frenetic atmosphere is fronted foremost by Clemens, who could easily found an organization called "Overactors Anonymous," as he routinely chews the scenery and comes back for more ham. There are many distasteful things in the film, some related to the gore content (which, while significant, is tame by today's slasher movie norms,) with others just plain nasty. In the latter category I definitely put the "vampirism plate lunch special" scene after Amanda cuts herself with a paring knife. It's just creepy and revolting (and not in a good way.)

Michael tries to kill himself by throwing himself out of Amanda's window, but unfortunately he lives. He asks Sheriff Pool (L. Q. Jones) to investigate Lionel Curwin's root cellar, and sure enough, they find the skeleton of the former cannibal who now possesses Michael. The backstory is extremely complicated and requires an undue amount of attention, even when Judge Curwin methodically explains it. It involves affairs, murder, imprisonment, cadaver cannibalism, unethical undertakers, a massive coverup engineered by the Judge himself, vengeance, and general insanity. I paid close attention and went back and watched several parts of it a second time, and I am still not entirely satisfied I understand all the convolutions required to get fully up to speed on the plot.

Amid the frequent sounds of cicadas, Michael gets worse and worse, first losing his youthful looks, and gaining scary darkened eyes, all of which culminates in the hospital when he fully transforms into a hideous monster. The monster gets more and more ridiculous looking as time goes on, and even sheds his skin at one point (like cicadas do) before becoming the horrible cicada monster himself. (Surprise!) In an incredible plot contrivance, Amanda flees the scene of the action in a truck, and runs off the road and is thrown into the woods, but otherwise unharmed. (I bet you can't see what's coming next.) With most of the surviving cast in tow, Michael runs through the woods, finds Amanda, and in an utterly nauseating circle-of-life moment, repeats the cicada monster mating cycle. (It's been more than seventeen years since the film was made, so hopefully we are safe from a sequel.) In the stirring conclusion, Michael (now appearing more like a lichen monster) attacks his own father, and his mother has to take him out with a shotgun. They will be needing some therapy for quite a while I'm guessing.

I gave the film three stars overall. The first half was downright boring, while the second half was much more captivating. The acting was all over the place. Cox was great, as was Jones, whose performance as the Sheriff was the best in the film, and reminded me a bit of Dennis Weaver in McCloud. Besch was fine, and had one of the more difficult roles to play: fainting, terror, and killing your own son are hard to pull off and make believable. Clemens was fine when in character as pre-cicada monster Michael, but quickly went over the top as the character started to change. A little goes a long way, and a bit more subtlety in the acting and direction would have helped. The prosthetics and effects look very dated by today's standards, but they are still better than some computer generated graphics I've seen. The single worst effect was the prehensile tongue scene in the hospital. (Groan.)

This is an interesting film for horror fans: it's an excellent representative of modest-budget 1980's shock films. While parts are laughable, the last half is fairly captivating, and most of the actors turn in fine performances."