Hundreds of Beavers (2023): A quirky, slapstick survival epic

Hundreds of Beavers - Courtesy Justin Cook PR
Hundreds of Beavers - Courtesy Justin Cook PR /

Written by Mike Cheslik and Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, and directed by Mr. Cheslik, Hundreds of Beavers is both a simple and difficult movie to sum up. It’s a mostly dialogue-free, supernatural, cartoonish, slapstick epic that promises an adventurous and unique storyline.

The plot revolves around a drunken applejack salesman named “Jean Kayak” (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) who finds himself in unexpected situations when he is thrown into the frigid wilderness after multiple mishaps nearly ruin him (there are many failed attempts to kill forest animals for food, for example). Though it’s all very silly, it sets the stage for a thrilling journey of self-discovery and transformation, filled with plenty of bizarre and (potentially) entertaining “How did you do it?” moments.

Like many adventure stories, a central theme of the movie is the protagonist’s journey from being a “Zero” to becoming a “Hero.” That being said, this story is original enough that it likely won’t seem like an ultra-cliché retread of “The Protagonist’s Journey” trope. In fact, by the end of the movie, Jean Kayak pretty much seems like a war hero. As he navigates theharsh wilderness, he faces various challenges and obstacles that test his abilities, resilience, and character. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Well, Mr. Kayak’s story seems to bear that out.

Hundreds of Beavers and the hero’s quest

Hundreds of Beavers
Hundreds of Beavers – Courtesy Justin Cook PR /

This evolution from a seemingly ordinary salesman to a formidable fur trapper signifies personal growth and overcoming one’s limitations. If he doesn’t become the toughest man on the planet, he may still be somewhere in that neighborhood.  Adding to the intrigue, the film’s description mentions a supernatural element, which is perhaps a misleading term, but it could imply that the story delves into mystical or magical elements within the wilderness and bizarrely anthropomorphic animals (they are far from regular forest critters, it should be noted). Kayak also has a love interest (Olivia Graves), though he must appease her father (Doug Mancheski) by bringing him…you guessed it: The dead bodies of hundreds of beavers.

This aspect could introduce unique and unexpected elements to the plot, making it even more engaging for the audience. Granted, the movie’s not as compelling as Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon” speech, and certainly is a lot zanier, but we are definitely along for the ride, and one wonders about the universe in which Mr. Kayak resides. Furthermore, the presence of hundreds of beavers as adversaries indicates a formidable and thrilling conflict, which ends up very much like a silly action flick. The protagonist’s struggle to defeat these beavers showcases his determination and skill, and the outcome of this confrontation may play a crucial role in defining his hero’s journey and ultimate destination.

Is Hundreds of Beavers really a “silent” movie?

Given that the Hundred of Beavers is sometimes described as “silent,”  it’s a little misleading, honestly. There are, in fact, sounds, and even some brief moments that might count loosely as dialogue. However, calling it “silent” might indicate that the filmmakers aim to convey the story’s emotions and intensity through visuals and atmospheric elements, without relying on dialogue. There are definitely also moments that feel like a video game, and these moments are funny enough to (probably) be successful with most viewers.

It also pays to keep the characters mostly quiet to emphasize that, for a good chunk of the time, the woods are still and silent, which adds a solemn feel to balance out the frequent slapstick moments. This creative choice could provide a different and immersive cinematic experience for the audience.

Final thoughts on Hundreds of Beavers

Overall, the plot of Hundreds of Beavers promises an exciting and original adventure that combines elements of personal growth, supernatural-esque “man vs. nature” elements, and a unique spin on hunting, all culminating in an epic battle against numerous beavers. All praise aside, it’s the sort of movie where, if you don’t like it, you will get tired of it very fast. So I hesitate to even praise this film too highly, as it almost seems irresponsible. Still, I enjoyed it well enough, and maybe you’ll find it to be as great as some others do. If you can get into quirky movies that play out like classic cartoons, you’ll find all of that here!

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