Boy oh boy. Guys and gals, I think I’ve found da 1 of Halloween flicks. I nearly didn’t watch this because of massive sound lag, but I went for it anyway and it’s the best decision I’ve made in this crappy film quest.
Nature of the Beast is a masterclass in bad film tropes. It wastes no time blasting through the staples: one minute in and we’ve already got a female lead working as a chef (one of the three jobs a woman in rom-coms can have: the other two are journalist or assistant to a hunk), her man-hating BFF and green screen driving scenes. Yep: whilst Julia’s making “bourbon caramel profiteroles”, fiancé Rich is headed to his shabby cabin in the middle of nowhere so he can flail around and handcuff himself to a radiator. Rich, as we’re quickly shown through some cheap hairy gloves, is a werewolf. Julia thinks he’s writing a thesis. “The old thesis story,” her friend groans, as if that’s a well known cheating ploy?
Julia and Rich are engaged, and off to Julia’s parents’ place for a mushroom ceremony- and Rich is meant to be the weird one in this couple. Despite his worries about going (he’s due to transform that weekend), Julia wins him over with a promise of sexual favours and he finds some medicine to abate the…hair. Why Rich (a lovechild of a poor man’s Vince Vaughn and a poor man’s Rodney Dangerfield, with the comic timing of neither) has never just taken medication before is never really addressed- although his hemlock is stolen by Julie’s stoner cousins. How can we tell they’re stoners? They spend every scene looking for “stuff to smoke” and then hang out talking about how high they are. Magnifique.
So many excellent components of this film: the fact that Julie’s totally accepting of the existence of werewolves but annoyed that Rich never told her is a personal highlight. There’s also Rich jerking around random rooms and shaking his arms about when he’s turning into a werewolf, the stuff of a university movement workshop drop-out. And the fact that Julie’s dad takes a gun on a mushroom hunt- though heck, werewolves readily exist in this world so ravenous fungi might as well? You can tell the wardrobe department spared several expenses on faux fur- it looks like a pound shop wig cut up and glued to a man’s face, but you get a real feel for how quickly the film was put together.
And the flashback sequence! Rich recounts becoming a werewolf after an attack outside of a bar with some old uni friends- including this guy who talks about acing his Russian history finals as if he’s a cop two days from retirement. Just makes his mauling all the more heartbreaking.
Look, I’m actually going to keep the plot unspoiled because I think it does need seeing to believing. It’s excellently bad, especially this grating guitar riff that runs throughout the film. Just like the overall product, at first you’re covering your ears in disgust, but by the end you’re singing along and cheering as a giant dinner fork saves the day.
Spoopy Rating: 3/3 It’s 2 Spoopy 5 Me!