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THE RISE OF THE BEAST (2022)
Directed by Jack Ayers.
Written by Max Brooks.
Starring Sarah T. Cohen, Sian Altman, Andrew Rolfe, Giedre Jackyte, Sam Sharma, Arthur Boan, Heather Jackson, Peter Jeffries, Erina Mashate, George Nettleton, Brendan Jones
A group of environmentalists break into a corporate research facility in order to expose them for cruel and illegal testing on animals, but they have no idea the horrors they will see when they encounter an escaped ape-human hybrid rampaging around the facility and forested area surrounding it.
If you squint at it, this is kind of a Bigfoot movie. It’s got a giant hairy beast running rampant through the forest and attacking people it encounters. But in actuality, THE RISE OF THE BEAST is a film about an experiment created by mad science coming back to bite the hands that created it, and any other hands in the near vicinity. THE RISE OF THE BEAST is by no means a good movie. But there is something that elevates the film above of what one usually finds in these low budget creature features.
That elevating factor seems to be the fact that this seems to be a script written by Max Brooks. Yes, that Max Brooks. The son of Mel Brooks who wrote WORLD WAR Z. I guess this might be some kind of early script sold by Brooks as it is not his best work, but I guess Max Brooks gotta eat, after all! At least the premise is solid and the narrative has a few twists and turns along the way that are somewhat sophisticated, so Brooks talented penwork does show up through all of this low fi filmmaking.
But an ok story doesn’t save a film from dodgy CGI. The monstrous ape looks ok in stills, but fails to feel like it floats in the frame with very little weight to the construct. The monster isn’t terrible looking. It’s basically just a big monkey slapping people around. There is a nice amount of carnage shown from these attacks and the massive ape passes on a disease that makes others more animalistic and ape-like, so there is a body horror element that arises. These practical effects are much better than the CG, making these threats feel much more…well, threatening.
All in all, I didn’t hate THE RISE OF THE BEAST. It’s a monkey on the loose movie with some mad science, ok acting, and bad CG. It’s a time waster of a movie that you’ll most likely forget soon after viewing, but only because of the overall blandness of the entire production. Still, Brooks’ writing shines through in moments, making it easier to watch than most of this film’s ilk.