Director: Mike Cheslik
Screenplay: Mike Cheslik and Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Starring: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Olivia Graves and Wes Tank
Country: United States
Running Time: 106 min
Year: 2024

In 2020, I bought Arrow Video’s Blu-ray for Lake Michigan Monster, the feature-length directorial debut of Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who also co-wrote the film with Mike Cheslik. I had a fun time with that film, and when I heard the buzz around the pair’s follow-up feature Hundreds of Beavers, I was beyond ecstatic to check it out. Thankfully, after being sent a screener to view the film, I was able to check it out and although it’s still early days, it’s very possible that Hundreds of Beavers is the best film of 2024. It’s easily the funniest I’ve seen.

This time, Cheslik took the reins as director, although Tews had a hand in writing Beavers and also stars as the protagonist. If I had to describe it to somebody completely unaware of the film’s existence, it’s a live-action Looney Tunes film with an Adult Swim sense of humour.

Jean Kayak (Tews) is an applejack salesman who’s placed into the wilderness against a seemingly never-ending array of beavers who’re after his apple trees. Straight from the opening few minutes, the silent comedy approach to the film is delightful, with laugh-a-minute gags that take advantage of the premise to the highest degree. I found myself laughing throughout the entire 106 minute runtime of the film, which absolutely flies by thanks to excellent editing, hilarious gags and a tremendous set of performances from Jean and the acquaintances he meets along the way. 

As mentioned before, the film is almost dialogue-free, with a few exceptions or the odd grunt and scream along the way, and the film completely pulls off being a modern comedy in the vein of a Keatonesque picture. I don’t want to ruin many of the hundreds of gags that present throughout the film, but to give some examples of an early highlight, when Jean is attempting to capture the attention of some beavers, he creates snowmen (and snowladies) to attract them which cracked me up beyond belief. 

Despite the film’s low-budget, the sheer creativity on display is endless and it’s a testament to the team behind Hundreds of Beavers who put every ounce of effort they possibly could into the final film, and it absolutely shows. From the incredible beaver and wolf costumes, to the fish that Jean is trying to capture early on, there’s always something on screen that feels lovingly crafted and perfect for the vibe that Tews and Cheslik were aiming for.

The only thing that made me sad about watching Beavers at home is the fact that I didn’t get to experience it with a packed crowd, due to the lack of distribution over here in the UK. The film feels tailor made for the theatrical experience and if a company such as Arrow Films, 101 Films, Picturehouse Entertainment, Lightbulb Film Distribution, Altitude Film Distribution, Vertigo Films were to get their hands on this, they’d be in with a sure-fire hit. 

The film’s currently playing across United States cinemas right now in a roadshow format and has been selling out almost every venue, and it’s not hard to see why when you’re watching the film. It’s gut-bustlingly hilarious, never feels like it’s running out of steam despite being almost two hours long and has a never-ending stream of great, creative set-pieces and gags.

For my money, Hundreds of Beavers is destined to be a cult classic, an ode to classic pre-talkies cinema while still feeling contemporary and fresh, with the vibe of a role-playing game every time Jean has enough money to purchase a new tool (like an upgrade in a video game) and the slapstick nature of a classic Bugs Bunny short. I had a tremendous time with the film and I really, really hope that with this review, I’m able to get more eyes on the film over here in the UK, because the film deserves it! I’m always an advocate for independent cinema, and the film that Tews, Cheslik and everybody else involved has poured their hearts and souls into deserves to be seen by more people. Hundreds more, one might say…

Once again, if you’re a distributor in the UK and you’re looking for something that’s destined to be talked about ten, twenty years from now as one of the great comedies of the 2020s, get into contact with Raven Banner International and get this film into cinemas across the UK! It dam well deserves it. I made it through this entire review without a beaver pun of some sort, let me have that one! See Hundreds of Beavers as soon as it’s out over here, or if you’re rich, book a flight to the States and make it to one of the showings over there, or buy UK distribution rights and place it in every cinema you can, please? You won’t regret it!

Film:

Hundreds of Beavers is currently playing across the United States, with a US digital release date planned for April 15th. 

Where to watch Hundreds of Beavers
2024's Funniest Film Doesn't Have UK Distribution (Yet) And That's A Dam Shame! - Hundreds of Beavers
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