This drama starts out quietly, but it slowly simmers until it's at a full boil of angst and trauma related to issues affecting teens today. Danny Madden wrote and directed Beast Beast, which is a heartfelt, timely drama that brings together various social problems facing young people -- gun culture, online popularity, and veiled racism -- into a creative, haunting film. And stars Chen, Angeles, and Madden give standout performances as Krista, Nito, and Adam.
The film is notable for casting Chen and Angeles, both actors of color, as teen romantic leads Krista and Nito; unfortunately, that's still unusual enough to warrant a mention. And it goes further by examining the allure of the online cult of personality and rampant American gun culture in Adam, who devolves from wanting to teach responsible gun ownership and maintenance to being willing to do anything -- and use anything -- to find online success. His turn from troubled teen to villain is frightening, but, sadly, it's expected after we see his violent streak increase the more he gets ridiculed by viewers. It makes his trajectory even more heartrending. The fact that Adam gets the success he craves through violent actions, without being arrested, is a jab at how White men, young and old, are often treated as if they're above the law, while people of color, like Nito, can get arrested even when they're trying to do the right thing. Krista's journey for justice cements her as the heroine of her real life, not just on the stage, and many viewers will want to live vicariously through her. Overall, Beast Beast is a film that will move viewers of all ages.