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Jose Angeles appears in <i>BEAST BEAST</i> by Danny Madden, an official selection of the NEXT program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Kristian Zuniga.

Movie Reviews

‘Beast Beast’ review: Authentic look at teens in the social media age

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Beast Beast is a coming of age story that attempts to capture the zeitgeist of today’s youth. The plot centers on three teens who need to be noticed. But beyond being recognized, they also have to be applauded.

This goes further than similar films that focus on the razor thin protection provided by popularity. Writer-director Danny Madden accurately taps in to modern day youth – until he bizarrely decides to veer away from it. 

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As social media becomes more entrenched in daily lives, it is becoming a larger theme in film. Here, each of the teenagers lives through iPhone videos and YouTube views. What separates Beast Beast from similar movies is its authenticity. The dialogue does not just sound like it was written for the social media age, it sounds like it was written by someone who understands it.

This makes the characters more engaging. They are not actors playing at attention hunting kids. They are those kids. Helping things is the strong performances from the main cast. Much like the dialogue, there is a natural feel to everything they say and do. Sometimes they make decisions that may not make complete sense, but that is how teenagers act.

Everything leads to a third act that will polarize audiences. For some it may come off as too obvious, while others will think it is excellent foreshadowing. Everyone will agree that there is a complete tonal change in Beast Beast. While there is a clear reason, it does take away from the more laid back aspects of earlier. It is rushed, shocking, and feels completely out of place.

Ultimately, Beast Beast is not a moment that can be defined by one moment. The film is filled with strong performances and writing. While the final moment does take away from the solid groundwork of the earlier portions, it does not ruin anything.

Beast Beast opens in select theaters April 16 and will be available on digital and on demand May 4

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