When the acting is scarier than the Sasquatches you know you’re in for a bad time.
This film does try, it really does. It comes very close to having a fun atmosphere that doesn’t take itself too seriously and which calls back to classic monster movies, but unfortunately it just falls a little short of achieving that goal. A fair amount of the humour here isn’t funny, there are too many jump-scares that annoy rather than actually scare, and the editing on display here feels abrasive rather than polished. But all of these complaints wouldn’t be crippling if it wasn’t for the fact that the acting across the board is unconvincing and lets the whole thing slip.
Nightbeasts‘ plot of a guy taking his young son off into the woods for a holiday filled with hunting and bonding is pretty standard, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The scene is set for an exploration of isolation and confined horror, and even though the film somewhat deviates from that setup early on, it still appears to have potential behind it. Alarm bells start ringing when alcoholism is introduced as a character trait and is dealt with in such simplistic and meaningless terms. This film takes several decent ideas and barely fleshes them out. In fact sometimes it even contradicts itself, with the monsters’ weakness for example. The resulting script feels very much like a rough first draft that is never returned to or looked over before filming began.
It’s a shame to have to write such a negative review for a film which clearly was constructed with love, and which features one of the key actors from my childhood (Zach Galligan – Gremlins), but there is so little to redeem the film here. A poorly constructed script is followed by bad performances and then topped off with laughable monsters. I would give this one a miss unless you’re a dedicated fan of the genre.
What is the film’s greatest strength? Its desire to be a fun call back to a certain classic horror formula.
Its greatest weakness? I’m going to go with the acting here, often the performances are laughably bad.
Would I see it again? No, nothing here would draw me into considering a rewatch.
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