"Hundreds of Beavers" is supremely silly DIY filmmaking

Hundreds of Beavers (2024)

When the studio system is so often reliant on sequels, remakes, and movies based on IP, it is refreshing to get an independently produced curiosity like "Hundreds of Beavers." It’s become a buzzy critical darling on the festival circuit and now in its roadshow-style theatrical release, and it’s not hard to see why. A farcical, $150,000-budgeted semi-silent film shot in black-and-white with actors in mascot animal costumes wouldn’t sound like high art. But as a piece of DIY filmmaking, "Hundreds of Beavers" is damn resourceful and committed to its original vision. 

Leading man (and co-writer) Ryland Brickson Cole Tews has an undeniably expressive face for silent film in playing Jean Kayak, a happy-go-lucky purveyor of Acme Applejack. When beavers become the catalyst for his entire orchid to be burnt down, he’s left in the frigid wilderness in his long johns. Jean is rocked by misfortune, like setting himself on fire and stepping on pinecones, but also blessed with small victories. If he can trap hundreds of beavers and sell their pelts to the grumpy local merchant (Wes Tank), Jean gets the hand of the merchant’s flirty daughter (Olivia Graves). 

If you had to give an elevator pitch for the approach behind writer-director Mike Cheslik’s "Hundreds of Beavers," it would be a Looney Tunes cartoon blended with Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s "Cannibal! The Musical" and an arcade game. Aside from the sounds of laughing, grumbling, screaming, whistling, woodpecker pecking, and other foley mumblings, "Hundreds of Beavers" is pure visual comedy, with a rough-hewn nature to the animation that’s always visually inspired. When the art of sight gags—and structured setups and payoffs—feels like it’s been lost in the era of comedy improv, filmmaker Cheslik keeps stacking a mountain of funny gags. Luckily, no actual beavers (or rabbits or raccoons) were harmed in the making, and you’ll see why. Read the full review at GuyAtTheMovies.com

Grade: B -

"Hundreds of Beavers" (108 min.) is currently on VOD.