The Beast on the Moor: Short Black Comedy With a Message

Poster for The Beast on the Moor
Natasha Harmer has done it again. In 2013 she performed her one-woman cottage industry act when writing, producing and directing her short film Once Bitten, Twice Shy. I can attest to her skills in all three endeavors as the lovely lady cast me in the lead role as the hunter with a secret. In 2015 she has worn a triple hat once again with The Beast on the Moor. A short black comedy that will appeal to those who know what village pubs are like in Britain’s small villages and for those who loved the opening of American Werewolf in London, the film will also be a delight.

A couple of tourists who are thinking of relocating to this small village near the moors stop into the local pub for a drink and a little information. The publican, whose dark presence in the shadows does not bode well for the two, is not a welcoming figure at all.

This use of a local urban legend, or would that be rural legend, to turn away unwanted outsiders who want to settle in the village is clever and funny and hides a message. It is not too unbelievable when one considers the amount of resentment from village residents at the “posh” out of town residents who work in the city and only show up on weekends and holidays.

These part time residents drive the price of houses and property up for the folks who actually live there all the time. The message is that these part-time villagers are making it hard for the folks from the village to continue to live there. That is my understanding and may not be what Natasha meant at all. You’ll have to ask her.

Possible messages aside, the lighting is perfect for this “punk’d” scenario and the location is perfect. As the story progresses the music fits the mood perfectly and the sudden O. Henry ending is delightfully done. The actors all perform their parts well and the publican (bartender) was a last minute replacement to the originally hired actor who had to drop out.

Sadly, this will be the last film from Natasha for a while. When I expressed dismay at this news she explained that losing access to all that equipment on loan from the University was a major factor in her decision to “retire.”

The Beast on the Moor can be found on YouTube and Vimeo, as can Once Bitten, Twice Shy. Head on over and have a look, it won’t take long and I promise you will enjoy it. The cast list includes Midge Mullin as Trevor, Tracey Norman as Sandra, Mark Norman as Jason, and Luke Abbot, from Oracle of Film plays James.

9 May 2015

Michael Knox-Smith