The Beasts (2022)

The Beasts (2022)

A slow-burn Spanish thriller crackling with menacing energy and brilliant performances

The Very Best



France, Spain
French, Galician, Spanish
Drama, Thriller
Denis Ménochet, Luis Zahera, Luisa Merelas
138 min


Galicia's tourist board can’t be thrilled with this one.

What it's about

When a French couple vetoes plans to build a wind farm in a remote Galician village, they inspire deep hostility in one of their neighbors.

The take

In The Beasts, the idyllic semi-retirement that a French couple seeks in the Galician countryside — growing organic vegetables, fixing up abandoned farmhouses — devolves into a terrifying slow-burn nightmare. This beautifully shot yet spiritually ugly thriller plunges us straight into an atmosphere of crackling social tension that never abates. We begin after the event that turns local farmer Xan (Luis Zahera) and his brother Loren (Diego Anido) against French transplants Antoine (Denis Ménochet) and Olga (Marina Foïs): the latter two have vetoed the sale of land to a wind turbine company in favor of preserving the village’s rustic character. Incensed by what he sees as the theft of his birthright by an outsider, Xan orchestrates a steadily intensifying campaign of terror against the couple.

Though much slighter than the physically imposing Ménochet, Zahera makes for a profoundly menacing presence, and Xan’s seemingly endless appetite for hostility and vindictiveness charges the film with a deeply unsettling sense of inevitability. His performance alone would mark The Beasts as a standout, but an unexpected switch in character focus late on in the film wrests it out of Xan’s grasp and reorients the movie as a study of grim resolve — making it a film of two equally remarkable halves.

What stands out

That pivot in protagonist. Where the first hour-and-a-half of the film is suffused with noxious chauvinism and hissing rage, the final third is a psychological portrait of an entirely different kind, as our new lead — largely sidelined in earlier scenes — brings stony resolve to the fore. It’s a real risk, attempting such a change of tack, but the performance it relies on proves to be just as authoritative as Zahera’s menacing turn and opens The Beasts up to a quieter power.


Add a comment

What did you think? Who should watch it?




The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.


Smoke (1995)

A gorgeous indie gem whose every note is worth inhaling


A Million Miles Away (2023)

A biopic designed to be as inoffensive and feel-good as possible, helped along by strong lead performances


Mommy (2014)

Aiming straight for the heart while punching you in the guts, Mommy is a crazy chamber piece about a widowed mother and her next-door neighbor bringing up a savage teenager


Fruitvale Station (2013)

Compassionate filmmaking reconstructing a 24-hour police brutality story – with a stunning lead by Michael B. Jordan


All or Nothing (2002)

Mike Leigh goes all-in with this devastating drama


Tom at the Farm (2015)

Xavier Dolan brings white knuckle intensity to this taut thriller


Broadcast News (1987)

A romantic and bittersweet drama set in the hectic world of TV news


Frost/Nixon (2008)


Delicatessen (1991)

The best synchronized chaotic film you’ll ever see


Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2023 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.