Review: HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS Plays Like Looney Tunes Meets Buster Keaton

3 out of 5 stars

Hundreds Of Beavers is a fun and visually inventive comedy that delivers high on the gag quota. It pushes aside convention and offers-up something unique. Set in the 19th century, it follows Jean Kayak (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews), a jackass of an applejack maker who becomes an incompetant fur trapper after his business is destroyed by a beaver. One is bad enough, but Kayak is soon taking on…Hundreds Of Beavers.

Director Mike Cheslik and co-writer and star Ryland Brickson Cole Tews have crafted a silent film-inspired romp that blends the slapstick style of Buster Keaton with the manic and brutal energy of the old Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons. Shot in black and white, Hundreds Of Beavers’ kinetic visual style and zingy aural aesthetic create a zesty cinematic experience. The whole thing is like a snowball rolling downhill, gaining momentum as it crashes towards its finale. The plot of slight, but the whole experience is about enjoying the moment and the more Kayak suffers, the more fun you’ll have.

The jokes come thick and fast and the manic energy never stops. While it may not be for everyone, those who appreciate offbeat humour and innovative filmmaking will find much to enjoy in Hundreds of Beavers. It’s a testament to what can be achieved with limited resources (a six person crew and a 12 week shoot) and a tiny budget ($150,000) in the digital age. You could argue – and I would – that it’s too much for a feature and that it might work better in 20 minute chunks – but that’s a matter of taste on my part. Destined to become a cult classic, Hundreds Of Beavers will likely to be discovered and rediscovered by comedy enthusiasts and stoner dudes for years to come. There will be those who have seen Hundreds Of Beavers – and those who haven’t and I imagine that its cult will spread in like wildfire.

Hundreds of Beavers again shows the power of independent cinema. It can surprise, and push the boundaries of what’s possible in filmmaking, away from marketing departments and money-men. Ultimately, this is a must-see for anyone who loves comedy that dares to be different. Sure, it’s a little long and might work better in short form, but who am I to argue with something so bold and inventive?