BEAST: A Personal Review
by Belinda Tobin
God’s creatures who cried themselves to sleepMissy Jubilee | BEAST
Will always stir to make others cry in return.
Missy. If you sought to reap your revenge on the viewers of this film, you have succeeded.
The tears you shed to understand trauma and its consequences have served their purpose.
Their perverse wisdom has been transformed into a film that has caused me to weep.
You have presented me with a painful reality that I cannot walk away from; in doing so, the
tortured has become the torturer. It may not have been your intention, but BEAST is a
punishment that has forced me to acknowledge my deepest unresolved fear.
I have always believed there is something perverse about the creators of horror films. I find
them eerily similar to the predators they portray. They know the deepest desires of their
audience intimately and use these to entice them into their cinematic lair. They also
understand the most profound fears of their viewers and use these to provide the thrill of
fictional and transitory distress. Horror films succeed, though, not just because of the intense
anxiety and panic they conjure but the sense of relief and joy that comes from being able to
walk outside into the light.
But what if you could not escape the terror? What if there was a film that tapped into your
most innate fears and continued to haunt you long after watching? Then this would no longer
be entertainment, would it? This would be torture. This would be real-life horror, and this
would be a revolutionary imagining of both the form and purpose of the entire horror genre.
And this is exactly what BEAST is. It is the story of our trauma. And it prods the wounds we
have covered over with dirty bandages. Torture is the very nature of this BEAST.
The story upon which BEAST is founded is common enough in the horror genre. It is the tale
of Leonard Patrick Rowland, the 777 killer, and his seventh and last victim, Annabel Crystal
Bruceti. It is the story of how the parasite of childhood trauma consumed the host and
compelled a mission of mindful revenge.
While the plot may be conventional, the portrayal of it is radical. It is created from the shrewd strands of 34 other films, with 77 seven-letter words acting as the cunning weft that brings it together in a mesmerising masterwork.
BEAST is such an intense and intricate film; no review can ever expect to do it justice. Its
themes are confronting and complex. The cinematography is remarkable and magnetic and
the soundtrack is a fully immersive experience. There is no way you can avoid being dragged
into the story, body, mind and spirit. So be prepared not to be ‘entertained’ but engrossed and
absorbed into a fusion of life and art.
While this is Missy’s first horror film, she has shown herself unnervingly adept at uniting
images, words and music to stir the emotions that make this genre so enticing.
By the time the word ‘horror’ appeared on the screen, I was already urging myself to turn away.
With the word ‘backlit’, my heart sank, and by ‘acquire’, I was ablaze with anger.
With the word ‘shelter’, I wanted to shout out for this all to stop, and by ‘decided’, the tears were truly flowing.
Then with ‘succumb’ came the sense of freedom that the pain had ceased for Annabel. And yet it
was only the beginning of the true horror for me.
The realisation that this was more than just a fleeting fantasy came with the letter that
Rowland wrote Annabel’s mother, specifically the words: “your daughter will be silent forever”.
With these words, my deepest fear was exhumed. Yes, the thought of the scrupulous
stalking and sadistic slaying of Annabel’s physical body was profoundly disturbing. But the
notion that her story would die with her wreaked havoc on my soul.
At that moment, I met my arcane and authentic fear – of being silenced.
Once this light was cast, it illuminated all the other seven-letter words.
It revealed how in wrestling with my childhood trauma, I had lived every one of them. Howling, hobbled and hurting were not just descriptions of Annabel’s tortured body. They were also the intimate
narrative of my struggle to quell the consistent waves of memory and distress. Abandon,
immerse, inferno and clean-up are perfect portrayals of the chaotic path of my life of dealing
with shameful family secrets. The only difference between Rowland and myself was that the
target of his revenge was other people. The victim I chose to exact my violence upon was
In this way, BEAST is much more than a horror film. It is a clear and concise expose of the
consequences of imposed silence.
What made this even more unnerving was the soundtrack playing in the background. The
music of Cat Stevens, Elton John, George Harrison and Simon and Garfunkel was ever
present in my childhood home. They were sources of consolation, hope and of escape. They
were a distraction from the voices in my heart and the incessant jangling of the skeletons in
the closet. They are certainly not the usual choices for horror films. And yet the message I
received from them was clear. There is no escape from the horror of isolation and self-
mutilation. For there may be silence, but there is no peace.
BEAST is a film that shoves us right into our unresolved trauma and leaves us questioning
how we have already exacted our revenge. It is the epitome of horror because it reminds us
that it is impossible to run and hide from ourselves. And that there is no justice for crimes
against the self. It blurs the lines between the evil of men we see on the screen and the torment and terror within the viewer. We are both the delusional and demonic perpetrators and the innocent and inaudible victims.
We have both the bloody hands of a predator and the pale blue eyes of a child.
It is said that you cannot give to others what you first do not have for yourself. If this is the
case, then it is clear Missy has an intense understanding of our human vulnerability, the
causes and consequences of trauma and the brutality of the bloodsucker that is left behind.
In this film, she employs the blunt axe of revenge for dual purposes. Missy has bludgeoned
and maimed those who tried to silence her by exposing the evil of their actions. However,
she has also used it to smack and startle those who deny we are stuck in the dark.
BEAST does not give the viewer the satisfaction of relief and release that comes with normal horror
films. It provides a greater gift – the awareness of entrapment. On behalf of all the hostages
in the world, Missy, I honour you.
Read the film background: https://missyjubilee.com/missy-jubilee-200-beast-film-synopsis/
Read the detailed script review: https://missyjubilee.com/script-review-beast/