Hundreds of Beavers movie poster

Hundreds of Beavers

In theaters April 15, 2024

Rated

,

106 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

It’s rare for filmmakers today to shoot an entire movie in black and white, let alone an almost silent comedy save for some ‘oh’s’ and ‘ah’s’. But leave it to first time director, Mike Cheslik, to try something radical with Hundreds of Beavers and according to the vast majority of critics across the country, pull it off in spades.

A mix of Wile E. Coyote meets Keystone Cops, Hundreds of Beavers follows applejack salesman, Jean Kayak (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) as he attempts to become North America’s greatest fur trapper and win the heart of The Furrier (Olivia Graves). Set in the 19th century, beavers attack Kayak’s apple orchard and to exact his revenge, he decides to rid the area of the meddlesome rodents. Battling also a fearsome winter, Kayak must find ways to survive the brutal cold and trap the bothersome beavers.

Kayak’s efforts at the beginning are quite unsuccessful and each mishap is designed to elicit a laugh out loud reaction, but the comedy wears thin over its 108 minute runtime. Hundreds of Beavers feels far better suited as a short film full of nonstop laughs – or perhaps something akin to one of the old Looney Tunes shorts.

Tews, who co-wrote the script with Cheslik, take clear joy in writing Kayak as a bumbling fool at the outset with each animal outsmarting the applejack salesman, but over time, Kayak learns from his failures and from other folks he meets along the way, including a fur trapper and an Indian. But it his meetings with The Merchant (Doug Mancheski), a gentleman who exchanges weapons for the pelts of animals he’s killed, that bring him the greatest reward: a new weapon in his war against the orchard-eating monsters and the ability to see his daughter, The Furrier. While the Merchant is seeking a strong, successful suitor to take his daughter’s hand in marriage, he never envisions Kayak in that role.

Cheslik’s choice of having all of the animals – rabbits, raccoons, wolves, and of course, beavers – played by humans in animal costumes is quite funny. Witnessing a beaver urinating standing up or get into a bar fight is a sight to behold. And it’s one sight gag after another throughout this zany pic. Truly slapstick at its best…or worst, depending on how you see it.

Hundreds of Beavers offers an ambitious endeavor in the realm of rodent-centric entertainment, but unfortunately falls short of making a significant splash. With a 95% Rotten score at the time of this publication, the film is certain to become a cult favorite, creating tens of thousands of Beaver Believers across the world. For me, I’ll appreciate it for its uniqueness and approach to trying something new in an otherwise overcrowded, uncreative Hollywood. But, absent stimulants, Hundreds of Beavers will be a one-time showing for this guy.

Hundreds of Beavers is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Mark Eaton
Mark is an entertainment junkie, spending much of his leisure time watching movies, TV, or listening to any and all genres of music. Most evenings, after finishing a day of work and hanging with his wife and kids, Mark can be found in an eternal battle with his DVR, trying to clear it before another 5-6 hours of shows are recorded the next day. Still reeling from his unpaid gig for the Detroit News where he was fired for being too cruel with his American Idol recaps, Mark is thrilled to be sharing his wicked sense of humor with Movie Reelists.

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