You know those single panels in Ren & Stimpy and SpongeBob SquarePants that make you shiver with discomfort at 2 PM? What about the chase sequence in Benny Hill and Scooby-Doo? Okay, the costume skits in Jackass or the commercial bumps from mid 90s MTV shows? All of these can be combined into something that represents the heart of Hundreds of Beavers. Feeling like a spiritual sequel to Forbidden Zone or an early Tim Burton short, this movie really takes the ability to make something with a little. Shot on a budget of $150k, and at least ten grand going to the costumes alone, this movie has no real dialogue, but lets the actions do all of the speaking. The film was fundraised and shot in Wisconsin and Michigan, completed over 4 years with 12 weeks dedicated to shooting. Filmed in subzero temperatures, so every time you see cold air breathed out, or someone walk barefoot in snow, best believe that was real deal.  And last but not least, there were 1500+ effects shots in the movie, starting with the opening scene.

A 19th century man, Jean Kayak, goes from being a drunken fool to a low level survivalist during a brutal winter. He previously was an applejack salesman and, after it got out of hand, he loses everything in a musical number where he destroys his business and it’s at the fault of a single beaver gnawing off the leg of a cider barrel. Now that he’s at the bottom and has to learn how to survive he takes a lot of notes from a bearded man who has a setup with sled dogs and a big sack similar to Santa and his sleigh full of toys. Kayak is interested in the local merchant’s daughter, and the local merchant wants Santa/the trapper to marry his daughter. Kayak winds up tagging along with the trapper, learning as he goes and getting better with each day. Finally he has to come up against the beavers in the forest and learn how to be his own man. Oh also, the beavers are building a massive dam and every animal is either played by people in cheap looking costumes or is a puppet frog. Lots of early Peter Jackson vibes, just far less gross.Hundreds of Beavers made its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in 2022 and has gone on to gain both critical and audience acclaim as a return to physical comedy and a real life video game. I constantly felt like there were scenes ripped from Conker’s Bad Fur Day or even BattleToads. It was recently Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, earned critical acclaim at festivals around the globe, including Fantaspoa, the Fantasia International Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival, Popcorn Frights, the Sydney Underground Film Festival and FilmQuest. It’s hard to find a spot to cover this, so the award section seems perfect; This movie is doing so well with marketing. They made a ton of alt posters, including the one I used for the header, and they fired them off to various press sites. Their twitter is insanely dedicated to talking about how to view this movie, what it means if even 15 people see it, and how film distribution works in 2024 for the little guys. Seriously, someone should award them for social media presence, it’s the most fun I’ve seen someone have since fucking Blair Witch Project, which goes to show you can do a lot with a little, which I say 500 times in this piece. A decent chunk of the movie’s fun is the soundtrack, which works as a character itself. It has noises(and visual !s or ?s) to match feelings, library music that really captures what I as a viewer would think the vibe of the 19th Century is, and even a few pieces that stand out. There’s a few scenes where Kayak holds a knife and the music, while still silly, feels eerie in a slasher sense. Chris Ryan’s score blends so beautifully with the rest of the movie, in ways that are equal to the visuals.There really are hundreds of beavers, but there might be a dozen that play all of them and there are a lot of great wintery forest shots. Reuniting the team that brought Lake Michigan Monster to audiences in 2019, Hundreds of Beavers stars Ryland Brickson Cole Tews as the intrepid hero of this frostbitten inventive epic, co-written by Tews and Mike Cheslik making his feature directorial debut. Tews has been clear about how much of his work is inspired by the Guy Maddins of the world for his stylistic sensibilities, and the re invented Three Stooges approach of early Sam Raimi for his humor. Luckily for younger audiences, Hundreds of Beavers is filmed in black and white, so even the butchering of his first beaver carcass at the delicate hands and mighty cleaver of his gal, the Furrier never comes within peering distance of Evil Dead II levels of grisly. One man’s journey of learning just what it takes to survive, Hundreds of Beavers is a 105 minute how-to-guide on trapping, hunting, and finding love. Also, the title card doesn’t pop up until an hour and 15 minutes into the movie. Not since the Friday the 13th remake have I seen the title and said, “oh? I thought that already popped up”. Hundreds of Beavers is available on VOD and they even have a webstore to buy merch.