Welcome to the macabre world of the novels of Mo Hayder. THE BEAST (DE BEHANDELING in the original Belgian title), currently being released in European theaters, is a screen adaptation of a thriller written by Hayder, a British novelist whose recurring crime procedurals have captured the imagination of the genre’s amateurs.
Struggling with his own demons police inspector Nick Cafmeyer (Geert Van Rampelberg) is looking for a disturbed sadist who has a tendency to enter into homes uninvited, handcuff parents to radiators and engage in various acts of sexual torture with their young children, usually boys, for kicks (this is not Eurodisney’s latest dance show).
As Cafmeyer searches around for the perpetrator in the glistening darkness of Antwerp’s recesses weirdos and perverts of all kinds spread like mold around him. But in fact, the central figure of THE BEAST is the psychopath himself. He’s got water tanks filled with urine in his apartment, the remnants of past torture sessions scrawled on a wall. His signature is to bite the victims on their shoulder.
Cafmeyer is haunted by a past trauma. Throughout his inquiry he gets repeatedly harassed by an old man suspected of having committed past acts of tortures, particularly on Cafmeyer’s own brother whose disappearance, at age nine, was never resolved. Cafmeyer’s investigation gets ramped up after the body of a young victim is found in a tree after spending an agonizing three days being raped and tortured.
Van Rampelberg absolutely nails it as the salvation-obsessed Cafmeyer. He couldn’t save his younger brother so he will rescue future victims from further acts of violence.
In this frankly disturbing film Herbots appears to reference David Fincher (SEVEN) and Tomas Alfredson stylistically, the choices are not too shabby, his THE BEAST is a winning screen adaptation that recreates the reality of the novels of Mo Hayder justly, without sugarcoating it.
THE BEAST was produced by the Dutch-based affiliate of Warner Brothers. No U.S. theatrical release information as of yet.