The Rise of the Beast (2022) poster

The Rise of the Beast (2022)


aka Devolution

UK. 2022.


Director/Photography – Jack Ayers, Screenplay – Fil Freitas, Producers – Scott Jeffrey & Rebecca J. Matthews, Music – Rock Parnaby, Makeup Effects – Chelsea Murphy, Production Design – Sophie Storm K. Production Company – Proportion Productions.


Arthur Boan (John Anderson), Sarah T. Cohen (Elena Banks), Sian Altman (Faith Goodwin), George Nettleton (Andy Simmons), Peter Jeffries (Pete Martins), Rob Kirtley (Colonel Jackson), Heather Jackson (Dr Kafka), Andrew Rolfe (Smith), Erina Mashate (Zero), Daniel Subin (Lab Tech)


John Anderson leads a group of environmental protestors as they break in to a Darrow Industries preserve in search of evidence of illegal activities. Instead the group are attacked and pursued by a giant genetically-engineered gorilla. They try to flee through the woods back to safety. Elena is wounded in the attack and is captured by Dr Kafka who intends to inject her with a serum that will complete her transformation into a gorilla hybrid.

The Rise of the Beast is another film from low-budget British producer and sometimes director Scott Jeffrey. Jeffrey has made an incredibly prolific output of films – over eighty films since 2017 with his greatest success being the modest hit of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023). Jack Ayers worked as a cinematographer on various films for Jeffrey before being given the director’s chair with Dirty Games/Game of Love (2022), followed by Shockwaves (2022) and Shades of Desire (2023).

I must admit I was suckered into watching this by looking up the IMDB to find it lists Max Brooks as the writer. Max Brooks, the son of comedy director Mel Brooks, has certain following as a writer, in particular with the novel World War Z (2006), later filmed as World War Z (2013). In actuality, Brooks’s name does not appear anywhere on the credits of the film, unless he is hiding behind a pseudonym. While I had thoughts that we might get a B movie elevated by a Brooks script, what we get in actuality is just a regular Scott Jeffrey production and I can only assume is name has been erroneously added at the IMDB.

Jeffrey and his team have put out a huge output of assorted Monster Movies, mostly of the dinosaur variety. In this case, the monster is a giant Ape, which has been created by genetic experiments into longevity. As such, the visual effects used to create the ape (who was responsible for them is uncredited) are actually quite good.

Heather Jackson and the giant gorilla in The Rise of the Beast (2022)
Mad scientist Heather Jackson and the giant gorilla

The main issue with The Rise of the Beast is that the giant ape never gets to do much – it turns up every so often to kill someone and not a whole lot more. Which is possibly due to the film’s low budget ie. the ape’s appearances are minimised in an effort to cut down on the number of effects shots – a common feature in Scott Jeffrey’s other films.

The main problem with The Rise of the Beast is that it feels as though it is two different films. One half of it is about an ape monster pursuing people through the woods. There is another ongoing plot where Sarah T. Cohen gets scratched by the ape and starts transforming into an ape creature, something that is abetted in some way by the experiments being conducted by Mad Scientist Heather Jackson. These sections have a good actress Sarah T. Cohen but feel underdeveloped.

The latter half of the film switches back and forward between these two plotlines as the surviving parties try to escape the preserve. Either plotline felt like it needed more of an urgency in the telling – the ape story needed more drama to the attacks, while the ape transformation scenes just needed more development period – resulting in a film that feels hurried at the same time as not having enough material to fill its runtime.

Trailer here

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