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BEHEMOTH (2020)

Directed by Peter Szewczyk.
Written by Peter Szewczyk, Derrick Ligas.
Starring Josh Eisenberg, Jennifer Churchich, Paul Statman, Richard Wagner, Whitney Nielsen, Vadym Krasnenko, Angela Nicholas, Thomas Patrick
Find out more about this film here!

After finding out his daughter has a terminal illness that may have ties to the chemical corporation he works for, Joshua (Josh Eisenberg) becomes a whistleblower for the company and begins a descent into paranoia and madness. Out of desperation, Josh kidnaps the head of the corporation and begins having hallucinations that he is being pursued by demons and monsters. Is Josh losing his mind or is he really being dragged into his own personal hell by infernal forces?

BEHEMOTH tells a familiar tale of a world seen through the eyes of an untrustworthy and fragile mind, reminiscent of films like JACOB’S LADDER and CARNIVAL OF SOULS. The demons pursuing Josh may be representations of his own guilt for working for the polluting corporation or this might be a literal devil at his heels. BEHEMOTH plays things pretty close to the vest for most of the runtime, trying not to give away what’s real and what’s simply in Josh’s head. At the same time, the movie cuts away from Josh in his predicament to other characters, showing their POV experiencing strange and other-worldly things. This kind of pops the balloon and gives the answer to the demons’ existence early on, so there is a bit of inconsistency here where the filmmaker wants us to keep guessing, but he’s already answered the question. Sure, it could be a case where all of these scenarios are happening in Josh’s head, but it seems extremely unlikely the way the film plays out. All in all, while films like JACOB’S LADDER and CARNIVAL OF SOULS stuck with one person for the entire time, showing the entire world through the sole protagonist’s experiences, BEHEMOTH has things happening when Josh isn’t around, disconnecting any doubt as to the veracity of what’s going on.
Storytelling issues aside, BEHEMOTH, for the low budget it is filmed on, has some absolutely fantastic CGI and practical effects. Filmmaker Peter Szewczyk has worked on CG for quite a few big budget films and created the effects for BEHEMOTH himself as well as handling the filmmaking chores. As a result, BEHEMOTH is a wonderful sizzle reel of breathtaking effects; from a rampaging demon ram to a full body devil prosthetic, this is a film that highlights the effects as only an effects man can. While I think Szewczyk could have spent a little more time on the story, this is a film that looks top tier. The director can also film some great sequences incorporating those effects with loads of tension, shock, and horror.

I also had some issues with the acting here. Specifically the lead character of Josh, played by Josh Eisenberg. I think the script requires a bit too much from the actor and there definitely are scenes that Eisenberg isn’t able to deliver the level of emotion and mania required to be believable. It’s hard to go batshit crazy without it being transparent it’s an actor trying too hard. While Eisenberg is fine in the more confident scenes, when emotion is involved, it’s tough to digest.

BEHEMOTH is an impressive film with high aspirations. While the film doesn’t necessarily reach those high goals, what it does deliver is promising. I felt this one was a little too long, especially with its TWILIGHT ZONE like premise. Still, seeing what kind of insane imagery and effects are going to show up to top the last proved to never disappoint until the predictable, but potent end.

Check out the trailer here!!