Somewhere deep within Behemoth, there lives a great thriller. It is just a shame it never realises it and decides to be too clever and mesh itself with the supernatural. As a result, a film made for almost pennies simple overstretched what it could and should be, leaving its audience unconvinced.
Joshua Riverton (Josh Eisenberg) spent ten years working for a global chemical behemoth notorious for its environmental negligence. When his daughter develops a mysterious illness, he steps forward as a whistle-blower, throwing his life into chaos. Convinced the company is to blame, Joshua takes matters into his own hands.
There are moments within Behemoth that simply do not make sense in the slightest. Why Joshua keeps going with his “mission” after getting the news about his daughter is incomprehensible. This leads to the main issue with the film. The story isn’t fully there to compliment the visuals on display. Separate scenes are really effective, but it is too scatterbrained to form a cohesive film. The whole premise is about Joshua doing everything to highlight his daughter’s plight and find a way to save her. Yet she is barely mentioned throughout, forgotten until the script decides she is necessary for some emotional pull. This is such a shame as the entire premise should be a home run. But by spending so much time focusing on the kidnapping, we lose all of the emotion from the film and become frustrated with the characters.
We are left floating in the middle, displeased with both efforts, by trying to mesh thriller with supernatural horror. When Behemoth focuses on one or the other, it works well. The scares are decent, and with the director’s background in VFX, we were always going to get a film that had decent effects despite the budget and when the film just focuses on being a thriller, it also works. By trying to combine the two is where the struggles begin.
The concept of Joshua being drugged and not knowing what is real or fake is a total missed opportunity; instead of the demonic thread that we eventually go towards, the mystery of what Joshua is seeing and experiencing would be far more suspenseful. When we realise that isn’t the case, the film severely struggles, but with the interesting ideas, you keep with it as there are things to take from the film.
Coupled with a script that doesn’t know what it wants to be, the majority of the performances struggle with Eisenberg never feeling like he cares about his daughters’ illness. Meanwhile, as Dr Woeland, Paul Statman seems to know the film he is in and decides to play it up deliciously.
The star of the show is the VFX which is to be expected considering the director. Hopefully, this isn’t Peter Sefchik’s only venture into directing as there are glimmers thereof a director with a great vision. He just needs to be supported with a strong script to achieve the film he wants.
BEHEMOTH will be released nationwide in the U.S. this Friday, August 27th, by distributor Level 33 Entertainment.
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