After a being enthralled by her favorite movie, a young girl embarks on a quest as a matchmaker and manipulates two strangers into loving one another, with horrific consequences.

Director and writer Theo Hogben brings a dark short to light with A Most Savage Beast (2019), currently making the festival rounds after premiering earlier this year. A nightmarish take on the dream of having an IRL romantic meeting, Most Savage Beast throws a monkey wrench into the archetype of the benevolent “Cupid” character.

One night, a young woman, who we’ll call “E” (Marie-Therese Bjornerud) comes home from a day of work at a coffee shop. To unwind, she pops in a video of her favorite movie, “Sunset at the End of Time”, a black and white romance where two lovers reunite, wistfully idealizing their in-movie encounter. Back at the coffee shop where she works, a young man named A (Jon Fosmark) orders then sits alone, and soon after, a young woman, named “L” (Maren Eline Markussen), enters and does the same. Seeing an opportunity for the pair to unite, E snaps a Polaroid of them sitting separately and daydreams of their romantic union.

Unfortunately, her daydreams are interrupted by the entrance of L’s boyfriend, named “B” (Joakim Engelsen), who violently strikes L for some undisclosed reason. A attempts to come to her rescue, however, he is struck down before B finally leaves the scene. Maintaining in her heart that it is L and A who belong together, E sets out a plan to intervene in their fate, setting up scenarios for the two to subsequently build a relationship. However, when her meddling doesn’t all go as planned, E turns to much darker tactics to make her dreams for them come true.

This short was quite beautiful — a darkly romantic narrative which uses dialogue sparingly, mostly relying on the actors’ facial expressions, a pensive and whimsical soundtrack, and editing and framing that I found to be reminiscent of Amélie (2001). The soundtrack for A Most Savage Beast was composed by Ådne Lyngstad Nilsen, who did a wonderful job bringing color to parts of the movie that were mute with dialogue, and whose score was perfectly in balance with the other sounds and scenery of this short movie. The character of E, nearly silent, alluring, and multi-layered with longing, idyllic romanticism and optimism, but who is also very deadly, was brilliantly brought to life by actress Bjornerud, who both lead the movie and stole every scene from behind her Polaroid camera. My only gripe is that it could have been much darker, but as a short with little time and room to flesh out characters, A Most Savage Beast was dark enough, though the title itself would allude to there being more savagery in this piece.

From Tyrant Films and Norwegian director Theo Hogben, A Most Savage Beast, clocking in at about 16 minutes, was a short deserving of further exploration as a feature-length film. As it is being submitted on the festival circuit, the short film has already won Official Selection at the 2019 Indie Visions Film Festival, KinoDUEL International Film Festival, and the Independent Talents International Film Festival. Check out the teaser trailer here, and visit the production company’s site for more information about this dark-romance in short film form.

A Most Savage Beast
RATING: R
Runtime: 10 mins
Directed By:
Written By: