BEAST NO MORE opens with aerial shots over a sprawling green forest. A car travels along a single road cutting through the greenery. The car pulls over at a rest stop, and Mary Jane (Jessica Tovey) strides inside to buy some gasoline.
The shopkeeper really wants her to take a paper map. “It’s easy to get lost ‘round here. You’re gonna need a map, people go missing all the time,” the shopkeeper (Roy Billing) insists. With this ominous warning, the movie follows a trail of terror that is as entertaining as it is fleeting.
BEAST NO MORE director Aaron Warwick has directed a handful of shorts as well as a TV series, Made for This. The movie features Jessica Tovey, who plays Mary Jane, a moth biologist grieving the loss of her young son Toby (played at different ages by Tate Dee, Karlo Johnson, and Xander Jovanovski). She throws herself into her work with a journey into the Australian wilderness.
Mary Jane makes her camp in the bush each day, setting up a smattering of cameras and purple UV lights. She tries to sleep at night as the cameras snap photos of nocturnal bugs. All she wants is peace and quiet to do her research, but she keeps getting interrupted. At night, something – or someone – is stalking her campsite, knocking over her equipment, and eating her food.
Tovey gives it her all with a moving performance in a multi-faceted role. Joel Franco plays a memorable character that will make you do a double-take. I won’t give away more than I already have — the payoff for BEAST NO MORE is a wild ride that you’ll need to see to believe.
Thanks to its energetic pacing, BEAST NO MORE remains intriguing throughout the 85-minute runtime. No one ever stays in one place for long, and that works well with the shaky-footage-in-the-woods style.
BEAST NO MORE tosses out tried and true horror scenarios in quick succession. That’s part of what makes it fun to follow initially — it’s unpredictable. Lots of viewers will find it scary, at least the first time they watch it. As Mary Jane is forced to move camp, she’s never safe, and you’re always anticipating that next jump scare.
The themes of grief and human connection, although hardly subtle, are what give BEAST NO MORE a solid emotional core that will win over many viewers. At one point, Mary Jane checks a moth trap, finding a large buzzing female moth. Unintentionally describing her own situation, she lovingly records the moth, telling the camera, “It’s just beautiful…it’s an endangered species. Just you all alone out here.”
BEAST NO MORE will be released in the US on August 7, 2020, on GooglePlay and On Demand.