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Review: Gigi Saul Guerrero’s BESTIA

I wish I had the opportunity to review this short film two days ago, so I could pretend I didn’t like it as part of an April Fools Day joke. Truth be told, I thoroughly enjoy everything the team at LuchaGore Productions puts their hands on; especially the multi-award winning short film El Gigante, which is currently being adapted into comic book form. Headed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, LuchaGore Productions is quickly becoming one of the most popular horror companies in the world due to their knack for mixing the dark occult underbelly of south west America with subtle thematic adventures. In the past, I’ve called Gigi the Female Rob Zombie due to her sick and twisted mind that bursts through bodies in all its bloody goodness. She definitely has her own distinguishable technique and style, yet she’s tackled something different in her latest short film Bestia.

Capitalizing on primitive fears, another LuchaGore trait, Bestia follows the lone survivor (played by Mathias Retamal) of a disaster as he awakens on a deserted beach. As he awakens, the viewer quickly becomes aware that he’s being stalked by a monstrous creature that is always lurking just beyond his eyesight. As he makes his way off the beach and seeks shelter in the surrounding forest, it becomes clear that there are more dangers lurking in the woods than a hungry beast. In the past, Gigi’s tackled cannibalistic wrestlers, satanic births, ghostly singers and evil holiday icons. While Bestia has all the bones and blood of a LuchaGore production, it’s also the first from this group that’s been toned down. I think the goal here was to capitalize on the fear of the unknown rather than shocking the audience with fucked up scenes.

Typical dark and dingy locations were tossed aside for scenic landscapes that were breathtaking. This will also make Bestia stand out from previous LuchaGore shorts. I was so blown away by the locations and the masters behind the camera that captured them so perfectly that I could rate this mini-movie on the higher side based on those aspects alone. Truly another showcase of this group’s undeniable talent. I would even go as far as to say that, if it gets entered in there, Bestia will win numerous awards for its cinematography in the film festival circuit. Director of photographer Luke Bramley, production designer Jocelan Jansen, Raynor Shima and anyone else who helped with scouting out the area and working the camera deserve a tremendous round of applause for their work here.

I’d also like to give the star Mathias Retamal credit for his performance in Bestia. He conveyed a lot of thought and emotion through his character without uttering a single word and his dedication to his role is crystal clear as he sipped from a dirty, muddy pool of wild water. It’s the little things that separate a performer from a guy reading a script and Mathias is certainly a performer. A to-the-point short film with mesmerizing locations and inspiring production quality, Bestia shows that you can make something great without going balls to the walls. A simpler is better metaphor that the fear of the unknown and isolation are two of our strongest fears, Bestia is a future award winning film that’s got enough gore and tension to satisfy every horror fan.

Bestia was written, directed and edited by Gigi Saul Guerrero with producer Raynor Shima.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)