Pros: deliciously nasty house
Cons: far outweigh the pros
So if you take Hitchcock's "The Birds" and Romero's "Night of the Living Dead",put them in a blender on s-l-o-w, pour it into a glass ... you have writer Wolfe Jahnke's The Beast Within. Directed by Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi, this movie is a sad mistake waiting to happen. It carries an R rating for horror, violence, gore, language and sexuality and is sometimes known under the name of Virus Undead.
Nothing new here, old guy dies in a remote village and his heir comes ro reap the rewards. The heir, Robert, drags along two friends, Eugene and Patrick, mainly because they are young, robust, bored, horny, med students all and envision a party in their future. When arriving in the small town they receive a less than stellar reception because it seems the townfolk weren't all that taken with grandpa, Professor Bergen, and his gene-splicing ways. The town bully, Baalman, remembers Robert from childhood years and still bears an unhealthy grudge against him.
Still and all, being the guys they are, they visit the local pub and run across Robert's ex-girlfriend, Marlene, who he dumped some time back when he went off to medical school. Despite the fact he was a total jerk to her in the past, he manages to convince her and her best friend, Vanessa, to stop buy the family mansion for an impromptu party later. Obviously needed because they are 1) horny old toads, and 2) what would a horror flick be without sex, drunks, and girls? I'm just asking ...
Once the party gets into full swing but think about it ... 3 guys, two girls ... someone ain't got a dog in that race ... but it really doesn't matter because that is when the zombies arrive. These aren't your normal zombies we have all come to love and admire, these are mutated forms of the townfolk, compliments of Professor Bergen and some little stuff he was cooking up in his lab involving birds. The birds carry the virus, dump their "waste" on the local vegetation and waterways, townfolks have the pleasure of ingesting it and so on and so on. Lead by Robert's old pal, Baalman, these are half formed zombies with still enough human brain cells left to remember things [especially a long time rivalry] and dumb enough to shuffle along like sheep trying to satisfy their needs.
For a zombie movie this is rather drawn out and boring. We spend way too much time watching the college boys be college boys before zombies start arriving on the scene and even then they aren't very zombie-like. If the house wasn't so creepy and remote, there would be practically nothing to enjoy in the whole film. Even without zombies, the house has its' own nasty secrets with some demented creature lurking about and a butler that would put the Addams Family's Lurch to shame. They try to make a big deal about tension between the college boys but, hey, what did you expect when they didn't bring enough chicks to the hen house?
They showed up, what else can I say? Blithe Wolter, Philipp Danne, Marvin Gronen, Nichlos Jrgens, Anna Breuer
The acting was extremely broken and stilted. I'm chalking that off to the fact it was a German production although recorded in English. I'm thinking for a few of these people English was their second language. It could also have something to do with direction since this was Wolff's 2nd film and the first film for Ohmuthi. The birds, when they appeared, were so obviously CGI that it really distracted, especially in the close-ups of the nasty old crows.
They did do well in effects of shadows and light/dark sequences and the makeup was well done. The house was the best looking thing in the film, decidedly creepy and dank. There was nothing original in the film, no particularly good zombie carnage scenes, and mostly relies on just being disturbing ... but doesn't quite make it there either.
By the end of the film, which is just over an hour long, I had already forgotten the beginning.
This movie is not to be confused by a relatively good flick in 1982 called The Beast Within by Tom Holland & Edward Levy, directed by Phillippe Mora, where a woman gets raped and impregnated by a cicada. Now that was good trash!