Behemoth is a 2021 indie horror film boasting cunningly clever special effects and a well-rounded storyline. Considering the movie’s $65,000 budget, director Peter Sefchik truly gets the most bang out of the film’s buck with his impressive visuals. A story of injustice, revenge and sacrifice, Behemoth is entertaining and brimming with sanguinary imagery.
The film follows Joshua Riverton (Josh Eisenberg), a guilt-ridden father desperate to uncover the truth behind the toxins ailing his daughter, Nicole. Having formerly worked at a chemical company (now under pollution speculation), Josh realizes the company’s carelessness is behind his daughter’s poisoning. This drives Josh to become an activist against his former employer. He and his two closest friends get more than bargained for when Josh’s attempt to confront the company’s owner, Luis Woeland, results in Luis’s kidnapping. While holding the unremorseful man hostage, supernatural visions plague the trio, blurring the lines of fact and fiction for the characters and audience alike.
Considering Sefchik’s extensive visual effects background (having a hand in award-winning films such as Avatar and two of the beloved Harry Potter movies), it’s no surprise that he pulled off high-quality creatures and realistic gore on such a low budget. Radiating with devilish imagery,a particular standout in Behemoth is a giant walking ghoul with thick curly horns reminiscent of a ram (think Hellboy meets gargoyle). However, this is only one of Sefchik’s many monstrous creations. Another mind-boggling feat is the film’s ability to show convincing carnage. (For example, when one character is suspended in razor wire, soaked in blood, and pale with death.)
Unfortunately, Behemoth does fall short in some areas, such as acting and dialogue. Though the actors give an admirable effort, they often miss the mark. Even the main character is unnatural in his reactions and inconsistent in his tone. This could, in part, be due to the clunky lines. Behemoth’s dialogue lacks flow and often feels forced. Though the film is not poorly written, the execution proves lacking while its pace feels rushed.
Despite its shortcomings, Behemoth is still a fun, scary ride with a surprisingly impactful theme. Citing mass pollution as the devil’s work is an innovative way to combine global crisis with cinematic horror. Now available in select theaters and on digital platforms (such as Amazon Prime), Behemoth’s plot and imagery provide an entertaining experience for viewers while inspiring other indie filmmakers, making it well worth a watch.