We’ve had killer sharks, killer crocodiles/alligators, killer primates, insects of all kinds, Hitchcockian birds, and a bear that mauled Leonardo DiCaprio nearly to death. This time, we have a massively dangerous killer lion.

Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and his teenaged daughters, Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries), went on vacation to Africa after recently losing their wife and mother to cancer. As she was originally from Africa, they went to see where she was from and, during this time, they reunited with an old friend Martin (Sharlto Copley) who was acting like a guide.

However, when they came across a village of people that Martin befriended only to discover that they had been killed, the tension in the group rose quickly. Not too soon after the village, the family was attacked by a rogue lion that was apparently out for revenge after a group of poachers had slaughter the lion’s entire pride.

Yes, that bit of a lion wanting revenge and killing everyone he comes across is a little cringey, making on think of Jaws 4: The Revenge where the shark followed the Brody family to Florida. The difference is that the writing on this is considerably better and the scenes of with this lion were totally tense and anxiety-filled. There were plenty of times where the lion would attack and I gasped.

Idris Elba was sensational here and he showed some fantastic chemistry with the two actors playing his on-screen daughters. I believed every scene with the three of them together. The film made a wise decision too because at the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, they established a conflict between Elba and the girls dealing with the loss of the girl’s mother. Nate had been separated from his wife and had not been around for much of her battle with cancer or the struggles that the girls had been going through so they clearly had some resentment built up for him. These moments in the film really humanized these characters and allowed us to know them more, and thus care about them more.

The action was extremely well done and, although you could see the ending coming, that did not mean that it was not admirably done. The film had about the perfect run time for this type of film and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and, if you like a tension-filled ride, this will give you the needs you are looking for.

4.2 stars

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