Sinister Screens

Beau Is Afraid (2023) ★★★½


From his darkest fears comes the greatest adventure.

A man goes on a journey to visit his mother.


One of the most bizarre epic adventures I’ve seen to date. I watched this film last on my 2023 watch list due to the fact that it was 3 hours long—not my favorite length of film and few ever make my top list. But Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid will end up inside my top 10 list of 2023. I was thinking about leaving it off because it’s so much more of an adventure flick, but the horror is really almost an undercurrent throughout.

A weird, bizarre modern-day psychological dark fantasy, may be a better classification for this film, but it’s hard to forget once you’ve watched it in its entirety.

The beginning of this film where the chaos around Beau was symbolized in full force had me much more engaged as a horror fan than the middle which drifted into a stilted lull for way too long. But the horror circles back at the end. Yet it remains utterly bizarre throughout.

Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant as usual. He’s an amazing character actor, always shining in unconventional roles like in this movie. Phoenix has a screen presence that oozes strange and dark—he’s perfectly cast in this film.

Also, there’s some really perverse concepts like the birthday boy stabber, the fumigator vs. spider and a scene which had me busting out laughing harder than I have in quite some time: the part where Beau is ushered into the attic by his mother. Brilliantly bizarre.

This one may grow on me more over time and my rating might increase.

Rating: ★★★½ (out of 5)

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