The Beasts – A Haunting Tale of Turmoil and Stagnation in Rural Spain

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, an expatriate French couple operate an organic farm in the Spanish countryside but clash with villagers.



The Beasts movie review (2022)


In “The Beasts,” a captivating Spanish true-crime thriller, co-writer/director Rodrigo Sorogoyen crafts an atmospheric and emotionally charged narrative that delves into the tense dispute between two outsiders and their provincial Galician neighbors. Inspired by real-life Dutch eco-farmers Margo and Martin Verfondern, the film centers on Olga and Antoine, a non-native couple portrayed by Marina Foïs and Denis Ménochet, who find themselves entangled in a heated conflict with the aggrieved farmer Xan (Luis Zahera) and his skittish brother Loren (Diego Anido). The crux of the dispute lies in Olga and Antoine’s resistance to selling their land to a wind turbine company, a decision that ignites resentment from the locals.

Sorogoyen skillfully avoids falling into the trap of presenting a generic clash between intolerant rural inhabitants and ignorant city-dwellers. Instead, the film focuses on the emotionally charged stalemate between Antoine and Xan, drawing viewers into a world characterized by petulant and self-serving dialogue. The setting of the almost deceased Castilian village of Quinela de Barjas plays a crucial role in elevating the film’s mood, with its half-stifling, half-enchanting air of stagnation underscoring the characters’ predicament.

The film’s success owes much to its stylized vision of reality, which Sorogoyen and his talented team, including director of photography Alejandro de Pablo, art director Jose Tirado, and sound designer Fabiola Ordoyo, expertly capture. With long takes presenting time in a naturalistic manner and indoor scenes bathed in natural light, the oppressive stillness surrounding Antoine and Xan becomes palpable. The characters’ continual butting of heads, despite occasional attempts at understanding each other, is accentuated by the haunting atmosphere of Quinela de Barjas.

Furthermore, the ensemble cast, including relatively inexperienced actors Zahera and Anido, delivers uniformly strong performances, adding depth and authenticity to the characters’ struggles. Sorogoyen’s masterful camera work follows the characters closely, immersing viewers in their nightmarish headspace, akin to the intensity of great horror movies.

While “The Beasts” begins as a parable about the impossible rift between neighbors, it gradually evolves into a tale of emotional deadlock. A plot twist shifts the focus to Olga and Marie, their daughter, and while it may seem abrupt, the film remains steadfast in exploring the characters’ emotional turmoil. The story grapples with the futility of seeking the truth and the suffocating nature of the toxic environment surrounding Antoine and Xan.


Ultimately, “The Beasts” is a haunting portrayal of waiting for the worst to happen, with a chilling sense of realism that lingers long after the credits roll. Sorogoyen and co-writer Isabel Peña effectively draw viewers into the characters’ world, where the air of stagnation and the inescapable emotional turmoil become suffocating. The film may not be a realistic representation of actual events, but it succeeds in crafting a genuinely eerie and emotionally impactful experience.

“The Beasts” is currently captivating audiences in theaters, offering a compelling and atmospheric journey into a world where turmoil and stagnation collide.



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Country: USA

Genre: ,

Director: Rodrigo Sorogoyen

Writter: Isabel Peña, Rodrigo Sorogoyen

Actors: Marina Foïs, Denis Ménochet, Luis Zahera

Duration: 2h 17m