Beau Is Afraid (2023)

by | Mar 14, 2024 | 2020s, Comedy, Film Reviews, Horror | 0 comments

Shadows of Fear


Release date: 14 April 2023 (USA)
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Director: Ari Aster
Cinematographer: Pawel Pogorzelski
Budget: $35 million USD
Box office: $11.5 million USD


3 MIN Read TIme


“I really thought I was gonna die, my whole life.” – Beau Wassermann (played by Joaquin Phoenix)


In the realm of psychological thrillers, there’s always a craving for something fresh, something that pushes the boundaries of the genre. Ari Aster, known for his previous works such as “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” ventures into this territory again with his latest offering, a film that delves into the intricacies of fear and the human psyche. Titled simply as “Beau Is Afraid,” Aster’s direction promises a captivating journey into the depths of horror and suspense.


Unraveling the Narrative

“Beau Is Afraid” follows the story of a young boy named Beau, played convincingly by newcomer Lucas Hedges, who finds himself engulfed in a series of inexplicable and terrifying events. The narrative carefully constructs Beau’s world, revealing layers of his fears and anxieties through a series of unsettling encounters. As the film progresses, the audience is drawn deeper into Beau’s psyche, questioning the reality of his experiences and the true nature of the horrors that haunt him.


Atmosphere and Visuals

One of the standout aspects of “Beau Is Afraid” is its immersive atmosphere and striking visuals. Aster masterfully utilises cinematography and sound design to create a sense of unease that lingers long after the credits roll. From the eerie lighting to the haunting soundtrack, every element works in tandem to envelop the audience in a palpable sense of dread. The film’s visuals are equally arresting, with each frame meticulously composed to enhance the tension and suspense.


Exploring Fear and Vulnerability

At its core, “Beau Is Afraid” is a meditation on fear and vulnerability. Through Beau’s character, the film explores the complexities of childhood trauma and the lasting impact it can have on an individual’s psyche. As Beau confronts his fears, both real and imagined, the audience is forced to confront their own deepest anxieties, blurring the line between reality and nightmare. It’s a testament to Aster’s skill as a storyteller that he is able to elicit such visceral reactions from his audience.


Character Dynamics and Performances

While the film primarily revolves around Beau, the supporting cast also delivers commendable performances. Frances McDormand shines as Beau’s concerned mother, bringing depth and nuance to her character. Likewise, supporting actors such as Oscar Isaac and Tilda Swinton imbue their roles with a sense of gravitas, elevating the film beyond mere horror tropes. The chemistry between the characters feels authentic, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.


Themes of Isolation and Paranoia

“Beau Is Afraid” also touches upon themes of isolation and paranoia, drawing parallels between Beau’s internal struggles and the external forces that threaten to engulf him. The film’s setting, a remote town shrouded in mystery, serves as a fitting backdrop for Beau’s descent into madness. As he navigates the labyrinthine corridors of his own mind, Beau must confront the demons that lurk within, lest they consume him entirely.



“Beau Is Afraid” is a thought-provoking and visually arresting exploration of fear and the human psyche. While it may not revolutionise the genre, Aster’s direction and the performances of the cast elevate it above typical horror fare. With its immersive atmosphere and compelling narrative, “Beau Is Afraid” is sure to leave a lasting impression on audiences. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers that linger long after the credits roll, this film is definitely worth a watch.


My Rating: 6/10




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