- Netflix’s Beast receives praise from a mountain lion expert for depicting a highly realistic lion attack, but the victim surviving is unrealistic.
- The survival thriller draws inspiration from the true story of the Tsavo Man-Eaters, lions that terrorized workers building the Kenya-Ugandan railway in 1898.
- While Beast captures some accurate aspects of lion behavior, its premise of a lion stalking and hunting humans for sport is fictional and unlikely to happen.
Netflix’s Beast receives high praise from a mountain lion expert for depicting a very accurate, though brutal, lion attack onscreen. The 2022 thriller follows the story of Dr. Nate Samuel (Idris Elba), a recently widowed father who takes his two daughters on a trip to South Africa. However, what was supposed to be a trip of healing and reconnection turns into a fight for survival when they find themselves being stalked by a vicious lion. Beast received mixed critical reviews, with some praising the suspense and Elba’s performance, but others criticizing the far-fetched premise.
However, according to lion expert Mark Elbroch (via Insider), Beast actually featured a highly realistic lion attack. Elbroch admitted that the attack was hard to watch, comparing it to the brutal bear attack in Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant. However, the Netflix movie did get a lot of things right, including reflecting the enormous size of African lions and how lions really attack when they’re going for a kill. The only unrealistic aspect of the depiction was that the victim survived an attack that would’ve certainly been lethal in real life. Check out Elbroch’s statement below:
African lions, the largest ones, are almost as large as the largest tigers. There are records of up to 600 pounds, but they exhibit extreme dimorphism, and that’s a fancy word for saying the males are a lot bigger than the females. When I’ve been in the field and confronted a lion, when they stand up their eyes are essentially even with your chest, which is incredibly intimidating. This is hard to watch. This reminds me of The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio, that bear scene was just brutal in its ferocity. This is, I mean, this is the most realistic attack we’ve seen. It’s on his back—they often go for the spine, you know, big cats when they’re attacking any kind of prey. And you notice this lion is biting a lot. We haven’t seen that in these other clips. Lots of clawing, which, as I talked about, is more about wounding. This is a lion going for the kill. This clip is as real as it gets. I’m going to give it a solid eight. It loses two points and just the impact on the person who was at the receiving end. You know, the devastation of that attack would have been lethal.
Is Beast Based On A True Story?
While Beast captured one highly realistic lion attack, it brings to question how realistic the movie is as a whole. After all, it can’t be denied that its premise does seem a little far-fetched. Having one lion attack a family unprovoked and then begin following them across miles and various locations to finish the job is far from typical lion behavior. Hence, it’s easy to tell that Beast is not based on a true story, but it did draw inspiration from one infamous lion story, which was told in The Ghost and the Darkness.
Beast and The Ghost and the Darkness were inspired by the true story of the Tsavo Man-Eaters. The Tsavo Man-Eaters were a pair of lions that terrorized a construction zone, where workers were building the Kenya-Ugandan railway in 1898. They showed unusual behavior in that they stalked the construction zone and treated the human workers as their prey. While the exact number of causalities is disputed, some experts estimate that the lions killed as many as 135 workers before they were killed by the project’s leader John Henry Patterson. To this day, it’s still unclear what caused the lions’ behavior.
However, research has found that lions can become “man-eaters” due to factors, such as starvation, lack of food sources, or illness. Given
, the idea of a lion stalking and hunting humans isn’t too far-fetched. However, the unrealistic nature of Beast‘s story is that it is implied the lion is hunting for sport, as it doesn’t consume its victims. This has never been known to happen, as even the Tsavo Man-Eaters were believed to be hunting for food and survival. Overall, Beast gets a few things about lions and lion attack stories correct, but its premise is still fictional and unlikely to ever happen in real life.