Directed by Franco Prosperi [Other horror films: Mondo cane (1962), Africa addio (1966)]
This Italian movie is something of a hoot. Truth be told, while it has the tendency to drag a little, overall, I definitely think it’s a film worth seeing, should you be a fan of Italian entries to the genre.
I wouldn’t say you should see it for the cast, however – make no mistake, I think the principal actors/actresses (John Aldrich and Lorraine De Selle) do fine, but neither one is special, especially considering the rather horrible dubbing job done. I did appreciate Ugo Bologna as the Police Chief, along with Louisa Lloyd as De Selle’s bratty daughter (and, on a side-note, I detected what had to be close to underage nudity early on in the film, which came as a bit of a shock). Still, these four are virtually the only important cast members, and while none of them are bad (which isn’t to say unlikable), it’s not why you’d come to this flick.
Instead, it’d be for the sometimes brutal animal attacks, of all flavors. Favorites of mine including an elephant stomping on a woman’s head (unfortunately cut somewhat short), an epic rat attack toward the beginning, which was beautifully gory, and a rather tragic attack upon a blind man by his seeing dog (which was filmed in a much more somber way than you might expect from a piece of schlock like this). The gore is never too in-you-face, and there are plenty of suspenseful scenes that go without, but when it did pop up, it was generally of solid quality.
At times, though, because of switching between mostly random people being attacked by random animals (such as the six minute cheetah chase, which was moderately suspenseful), the movie felt a bit aimless at times. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because within the context of the story, such a route makes sense, but Wild Beasts definitely felt a bit off at times.
Personally, I think that this movie had a lot of get-up-and-go despite some of the issues I had with the cohesiveness (I should point out that the conclusion is pretty cool, albeit a bit weak in the way it played out). It’s not a great movie, but I do think that this Italian flick has a lot of character, and while I wish it had more gore, there were some kills (such as the seeing dog attack and the rat attack) that were well-worth seeing, and generally, I’d say Wild Beasts is enjoyable, just not special.
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