Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.


The Beast (1996) on IMDb

Plot Overview

star burst SOSMr. and Mrs. Howard (Chad Tyler) and Elizabeth (Angie Milliken) Griffin of San Francisco are weekend sailors on their honey­moon. On a cruise ship they'd have had a whole staff attending them; here on their sloop they also have help: an auto­pilot and a Poseidon life­boat. “Capt. Love” and his “spoiled wife” get on with their business below decks with nary a worry in the world. Unfortunately, their yacht Occupational Hazard is too far out for the Coast Guard to respond quickly to an emer­gency. They are recreational, not occupational sailors, but they still encounter the same hazards.

Seasoned fisherman Whip Dalton (William Petersen) lost his experienced sailor wife ten years ago to a sudden squall when she was out sailing for pleasure. They found part of her boat but none of her. Changing weather is a sailor's hazard. All they find of the Griffins is their lifeboat.

Slovenly Lucas Coven (Larry Drake) does illegal trap fishing that decimates the ocean of aquatic life as he kicks back drinking and reading Playboy. With lack of prey (“We're fishin' a bone yard, pal”) the large predators get deracinated from the deep to seek new food sources above, and man may find he's no longer at the apex of the food chain. Another hazard of the sea.

Whip's boat Privateer has its engine seize up playing tug of war with a giant squid. It is unlikely the beast is going to wait around while they order new valves to rebuild the engine. By now it's mad enough to be dangerous, not that it wasn't before.


On shore at Graves Point, Washington, marine biologist Dr. Herbert Talley (Ronald Guttman) has made an appearance to investigate giant squid reports. He gives a meticulous scientific description of what the locals have encountered in their waters. (Psalm 107:23-24) “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.” The consensus of opinion is the beast is just passing through; if they leave it alone it will just be on its way and the crisis will be past (Psalm 107:25-28.) Sounds good to me. Sea Land, Texas, owner Osborne Manning (Denis Arndt), how­ever, wants to display it in his big aquarium. That sounds good to the harbor­master Schuyler Graves (Charles Martin Smith.) Its payment will further his Redevelopment Corp. I guess they do every­thing big in Texas.

Cupid's dartPort Angeles Coast Guard Lt. Kathryn Marcus (Karen Sillas) finds her­self attracted to Whip and he to her. She still bears scars of a failed relation­ship, so she is reluctant to follow through. She's also troubled by her lack of progress in a male service. But the small town where she's stationed exerts its influence of sex roles for men as providers and protectors, while women get fulfillment standing by their man and nurturing children. In a funny kind of way the squid itself shows a maternal instinct. (Lam. 4:3) “Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilder­ness.” There's room for a happy romantic ending even amidst the carnage.

(Psalm 107:40-43) “He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall under­stand the loving­kind­ness of the LORD.” Graves ends up alone on a life boat in treacherous waters. Some couples connect up, to the strains of “I Fall to Pieces” at the Founders Day Celebration, and there's always some­thing to thank God for (“Thank God she didn't sleep with both of them.”)

Production Values

” (1996) was directed by Jeff Bleckner. It was based on the novel Beast by Peter Benchley. It stars William Petersen, Karen Sillas, and Charles Martin Smith. Larry Drake played the most memorable character as the drunken fisherman. There were nice acting performances and good casting throughout.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for some violence and terror. The film is 3 hours long with a break in the middle to switch discs. There are fade-outs to break it into episodes, making it seem like a TV series. Music is by Don Davis.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

The director seems to have preferred a lot of sloppy kissing in the romantic scenes and graphic dismemberment in the monster ones. Avoid this one if you don't like mushy stuff. The women on the island were all babes and slightly desperate, but the water hazard is a killer. If you like the monster/romance combo genre, this one will go down well with steady pacing and spaces for breaks.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.