Hundreds of Beavers Is a Looney Tunes Cartoon Set to 11 (Review)

Hundreds of Beavers debuted on the film festival circuit back in 2022 and since then has steadily become a cult hit. It’s one of those movies that you hear more and more people ask, “Have you seen it?” on a random film subreddit or in discussion with friends. Well, have you? And if not, why not?

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What exactly is Hundreds of Beavers though? A quick search will tell you it is a black-and-white, slapstick comedy about a fur trapper who must trap the titular hundreds of beavers in order to win the hand of the girl he loves. That, however, is only the film’s very loose plot, which is mostly just an excuse for an ever-escalating series of slapstick comedy set-ups featuring animation, people in animal costumes, pratfalls, and the kind of comedic violence found in Looney Tunes cartoons. It is, in short, a hilarious comedy the likes of which haven’t been seen on screen since the age of silent film.

a beaver about to hit the hunter in the back with a chair in hundreds of beavers

That is, in fact, part of the point. The movie is without speech, though not entirely silent thanks to human and animal noises and an incredibly keyed-in score, and is clearly trying to be a silent film. Think a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton film meets Looney Tunes meets Monty Python all spinning off into an almost surreal David Lynch-esque conclusion as it spirals out of control into an action-packed finale. I know that sentence had so many descriptive contradictions in it you can’t quite conceptualize how this film could even function, and I’m not sure how either, to be honest, but it does, and it only gets funnier as it goes along.

Almost none of the humor in the movie is anything new in terms of slapstick comedy. Our intrepid hunter, played by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, falls into hidden holes, triggers his own hunting traps, and gets hit in the balls (the ultimate form of comedy), but it all works wonderfully. I’m chagrined I had to watch the movie on my own as seeing it in a theater probably would have had me laughing even harder. Part of the reason for that is Tews’ performance as he contorts his face into a cartoon itself — half the humor comes from his own reaction shots, cued up like a silent film actor overplaying every moment perfectly. There is something akin to Cary Grant’s classic mugging in Arsenic and Old Lace to his performance, a comedic style of performance long gone in cinema that’s still hilarious.

two beavers holding a log in hundreds of beavers

However, what ties the film together — what ties any comedy together — is timing, and Hundreds of Beavers‘ comedic timing is nearly flawless. Director Mike Cheslik stitches together what is basically a collection of slapstick sketches into a spiraling, cohesive whole that builds comedy wonderfully. Not just hilarious for some prolific gag timing but constructed so the comedy builds on top of itself, the movie hardly loses a step despite being non-stop slapstick comedy and visual gags. Thanks to the movie getting more and more cartoonish, like a Looney Tunes cartoon taken to eleven, Cheslik is able to increase the comedic visual punchlines to ever more humorous levels.

If there is one complaint about the movie, it may be that the premise can wear a bit thin every now and again, but there is nothing like Hundreds of Beavers in cinemas right now, and there hasn’t been something like it in a very long time. Hell, there probably won’t be something like it in theaters for the foreseeable future either. So now is your chance to see a truly hilarious bit of cinematic uniqueness. Go do it.

Hundreds of Beavers is in limited theaters in the U.S. and will land in the UK on July 9. It is also available to stream On Demand.

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Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is a News Writer and film aficionado at Escapist. He has been writing for Escapist for nearly five years and has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and video games for both print and online outlets. He has a degree in Film from Vassar College and a degree in gaming from growing up in the '80s and '90s. He runs the website and has written for The Washington Post, Destructoid, MTV, and more. He will gladly talk your ear off about horror, Marvel, Stallone, James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.