On a small windswept island a troubled young woman (newcomer Jessie Buckley in a breakout role) falls for a mysterious outsider and is surprised to learn just what she is capable of after he comes under suspicion for a series of brutal murders in this smoldering British thriller.
"Michael Pearce's feature debut is a smartly layered thriller that draws haunting drama from a creepy location and an array of plausably shady characters" Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian
Someone on the windswept island of Jersey (the British territory, not the American state) has been murdering a series of young women, leaving the small population edgy and wary of strangers. Amid this uneasy atmosphere, one resident, Moll (Jessie Buckley), chafes against her cold, controlling mother (Geraldine James), whom she still lives with, along with her Alzheimer's-stricken father, and is constantly upstaged by her better-liked siblings. Seeking escape, Moll meets a mysterious French outsider, Pascal (Johnny Flynn), and doesn't let his criminal past, his gruff manner, or his brandishing of a hunting rifle, interfere with their budding romance. As the two rebellious misfits are drawn to each other, suspicions increase about Pascal's involvement in the murders, and about dark secrets revealed from Moll's past. Writer/director Michael Pearce, a Jersey native known chiefly for British TV dramas, based the story loosely on an infamous string of murders that occurred in Jersey in the '60s. In Beast, his feature film debut, Pearce exhibits a mastery of cinematic horror, turning the spooky, gray-green setting into a menacing character all its own. This psychological thriller relies more on the subtleties and taut dialogue than on easy jump-cuts to ratchet up the suspense, leading to an explosive finish that will leave audiences guessing about who the true beast of the title really is.
Michael Pearce's debut feature Beast (2017) was inspired by childhood folklore in his home state of New Jersey. His goals as a filmmaker are to shed light on the unconventional, from setting to the concept of an anti-heroine; a female protagonist that avoids all typical stereotypes, is difficult to empathize and is a rare depiction in modern cinema. Pearce's work also extends to short films, television dramas, commercials and music videos. In 2011, he was selected as one of Screen International's UK Stars of Tomorrow.
Sponsored by MOViN 92.5, Dexter Hayes Apartments
- Director: Michael Pearce
- Principal Cast: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Trystan Gravelle, Geraldine James
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: United Kingdom
- Year: 2017
- Running Time: 107 minutes
- Producer: Ivana MacKinnon, Lauren Dark, Kristian Brodie
- Screenplay: Michael Pearce
- Cinematographers: Benjamin Kracun
- Editors: Maya Maffioli
- Music: Jim Williams
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: English
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: Roadside Attractions
- International Sales: Protagonist Pictures