Red Headed Revolution Pictures and director Cameron McCasland follow up last year’s multiple-award winning cryptozoological fright offering Tailypo (reviewed here) with another creepy creature feature, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Beast in the Cave. Larry Underwood – also known by his horror-host alter ego Dr. Gangrene – adapts the screenplay from a very early short story by Lovecraft, bringing the tale into the present day. The result is an effective, eerie short that should garner more nominations and awards for McCasland as it continues its festival circuit run.
Wynn Reichert stars as the narrator, who recounts his tale of exploring caves as part of a tour group and becoming separated from the others. Viewers know from the beginning that the protagonist survives his ordeal, but that is part and parcel of faithfully adapting the story from Lovecraft, who sometimes used this first-person-survivor narration method. As the narrator becomes further lost in the cave, his lamp begins to give out, and his terror grows when he realizes he is not alone.
Wynn Reichert is a seasoned actor with 90 films to his credit so far, including horror-comedy short The Unconventional Gourmet, previously reviewed here. He does a fine job in H.P. Lovecraft’s The Beast in the Cave. He spends the majority of the film acting wordlessly, reacting to events as his narration explains the proceedings. His facial expressions complement the narration well. He also has some scenes in which his character talks or otherwise reacts to what is happening to him, and he is equally solid then, too. Mark Greenbaum has a brief but important role as the tour guide, and gives a nice performance.
Those concerned about updating the short to modern times need not worry. The narrator’s language is modernized just enough to make it feel natural to the current day while retaining the feeling of Lovecraft’s writing style, and the two settings in the short – the cave and the narrator’s study – aren’t jarringly updated. Lovecraft purists, therefore, can rest assured that the tone of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Beast in the Cave faithfully reproduces the author’s intentions.
Cameron McCasland gives another superb turn at the helm, with cinematographer Chuck Angell doing an admirable job, as well. McCasland and screenwriter Larry Underwood are working on more shorts set for release in the near future, which is exciting news.
The Beast in the Cave: (4 / 5)