Johnny Flynn and Jessie Buckley in Beast.

Moll (Jessie Buckley), a loner, meets Pascal (Johnny Flynn), another loner, and they seem to hit it off as the film Beast gets under way. He’s mysterious and he has kind eyes. However, he also poaches animals and has a controversial past—which is brought to her attention by authorities after they have gotten romantic.

Local girls are disappearing and winding up dead, and Pascal, who has a criminal past and fits the profile of a serial killer, is now a prime suspect. That puts a damper on the romance, obviously, as Moll struggles to find out who she is really in love with—and whether or not he’s capable of such heinous acts.

Michael Pearce has made a chilling, effective thriller, thanks to a cool, stylish and quiet directorial style that works beautifully with the stellar lead performances. The effectiveness of a movie like this relies upon the director’s ability to keep the viewer in the dark—and Pearce does this admirably.

The film is constructed in a way that diminishes the importance of guessing who the killer is, because you are so taken in by the duo at the center of it all. Buckley and Flynn make Beast something well beyond your typical whodunit, with searing performances.

Beast is available via online sources including iTunes and; it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 4.