Beasts of the Night is a supernatural action horror movie directed by Robert Eggers and starring Maisie Williams, Billie Piper, Christian Bale, Dane DeHaan, Shaileen Woodley, Mads Mikkelsen and Luke Evans. It is a film that surrounds a girl who leads a group of people into a vast forest to try and solve the brutal murder of her parents twelve years ago, and they are soon falling victim to a colony of vampires.
In the opening scenes, a young girl named Megan Brooks is taking a walk with her parents and her older sister Kate. She stumbles into a cave and explores it, finding a litter of human bones and, suddenly, she is attacked by a creature. She runs from the cave and suddenly the creature is joined by several others, who attack the group. In the dark, Megan watches as, while her sister carries her hurriedly away from the forest, her parents are torn apart by the creatures. She screams for them, and is comforted by her sister when they cross the river to the car park. She hears her parents' screams and the violent snarls of the creatures.
Twelve years later, Megan has grown up obsessed with the attack and the concept that her parents were murdered by savage monsters, but her sister, along with the rest of the village, inconsistently insist that it was wolves that killed them. Megan is shunned somewhat, believed to be mad by children and to be mentally unstable by the adults, including the town doctor Dr. Spiner. In class, Megan is caught drawing graphic, disturbing images of the forest and silhouetted creatures lurking there. Kate, who has been in a strained relationship with her boyfriend Callum because of Megan's reputation. At night, Megan is constantly caught sitting on the roof of their house looking out at the forest, talking as if to an imaginary friend to her parents, while watched by a mysterious man in a leather duster.
The man in the leather duster meets with Kate while she is drinking with her boyfriend that night and identifies himself as Lucien Blunt, a hunter who has proven interested in Megan's story and wishes to explore the forest with them to discover just what killed their parents. Although first reluctant, Kate is persuaded by the prospect of simply putting the business behind them permanently. She approaches Megan with the idea and introduces Lucien, and Megan is overjoyed that someone believes her and they agree that they will set off the next day. When they leave, the villagers watch them contemptibly, but several others go to join them out of curiosity - a photographer named Shaw, a wilderness expert named Finley, a disgraced marine named Polter and a zoologist named Kitana. They pack tents and other essentials and leave by van into the forest, watched by the villagers.
En route, Megan becomes friendly with Kitana and recognizes her as a girl that was once at school above Megan. Simultaneously, Kate and Lucien spend the journey talking, much to the chagrin of Callum. On the way, they pass by a house where a seemingly drunken man who calls himself Isaac rushes out with a shotgun and orders them to turn back. Believing him to be drunk and mad, Lucien feigns turning around, only to rerout around the river and further into the heart of the forest. There, they make camp and take to talking with one another. Meanwhile, Megan obsesses herself with setting up the cameras to record her findings in the forest, much to Kate's embarrassment. During the night, Megan is awoken by rustling and leaves the tent to investigate, but it turns out to be Kate and Callum messing around in their tent. She is unaware that a silhouetted creature is watching her from far away.
They begin to investigate near where the attack happened, and they accidentally come across a cave full of sleeping wolves. They retreat so as not to alert the wolves, and Megan considers exploring another entrance to the cave via the river, but the entrance is too narrow to fit through for anyone but Megan. She goes through, attached to a rope which Lucien and Kitana support. She explores through the cave until she finds a jacket that she recognizes that her mother wore at the time of her death. She hears one of the wolves stirring and escapes the cave before they detect her. At first, Kate is reluctant to admit that the jacket belonged to their mother, but is convinced when she recognizes her mother's name labelled in the collar. She takes the jacket as her own.
During the next night, Polter leaves the camp to find food and is lured further from the camp by curious tracks. He comes across a torn deer and mistakes it for wolf's work, before spotting a tall, humanoid creature rushing into the darkness. He pursues it, and suddenly is attacked and bitten on the neck by a creature that leaps from the trees. Just as the creature bites him, Lucien appears and shoots the creature in the leg, causing it to retreat, howling painfully, before either of them can get a good look at it. Polter claims that its bite wasn't as serious as once thought and they return to the camp, but not before secretly spying that the bite has already blackened and begun to fester. The creature that attacked him retreats back to a trench, where other similar creatures, shadowed in the dark, lick the blood from its mouth and start chanting with one another. One of them, a towering man in a torn green coat, watches it all curiously, and calms the creatures with a raised hand.
Back at the camp, while they are filming the investigation, the bite on Polter begins to fester and he collapses at one point, screaming in pain. Kitana and Finley attempt to treat it, but eventually he becomes unconscious. After studying the bite, Kitana differentiates it from that of any animal she knows of and Kate is reluctant to suggest that it is from some kind of unnatural creature. During the night, Megan experiences frightening nightmares about the night her parents died and, awakening from the nightmare, discovers that Polter has left his tent. She follows a trail of blood from his bite and eventually finds him savagely eating a live fox. She accidentally alerts him and he turns, attacks her, only for Lucien to restrain him. During the struggle, Megan notates that his canine teeth have lengthened and his eyes have turned yellow. When Polter tries to attack again, Lucien knocks him out and, the next day, he has no recollection of the attack.
During the next day, Polter undergoes infrequent periods of savagery where he snarls like an animal and tries to bite anyone who approaches him. Megan, followed reluctantly by Callum, goes to Isaac's house and discovers that his house has strings of garlic hanging from the walls. She tries to explore his house, but he arrives from hunting and orders them at gunpoint to leave him. She sneaks a string of garlic and runs from the house. While trying to re-enter the cave, Megan experiences a vicious flashback about the events surrounding her parents' death and remembers spying a maze of trenches further in the forest. She suggests exploring that part of the forest, but Lucien advises against it. Meanwhile, Kate and Callum spend the time at camp, having sex, before Callum suggests that they leave Megan and the others and go back to the village, away from such a pointless hunt. Though tempted, Kate is distracted when Polter reawakens and starts shrieking, complaining of intense pain in his bite wound. Soon, Polter displays incredible strength and savagery and breaks free, attacking the couple.
Callum tries to fight off Polter, but fails and is dragged into the forest. Kate runs after him and Megan spots them. She and the crew pursue Polter through the forest, into one of the trenches, where Lucien rescues Callum and scares off Polter, who retreats into the trenches. When they try to turn back, they come across the pack of wolves appears while hunting a group of deer, and attack the group. The group retreats, before the wolves are suddenly waylaid by a large group of humanlike creatures similar to what Polter looked like, and a savage battle breaks out between the wolves and the creatures, in which Megan witnesses Shaw bitten to death by the creatures while they fight the wolves over him. She also spots the man in the green coat at the top of the trench, watching them with his arms folded. The group divides, and Megan and Kitana are separated when Polter and three of the wolves pursue them into the forest. The chase leads them away from the battle, where Megan accidentally runs into a tree trunk and is stunned, provoking Polter to move to attack them, but suddenly Isaac appears and repeatedly shoots Polter in the chest, driving him back and killing the wolves. Polter, wounded, tries to retaliate, but a sinkhole collapses beneath him and he plummets, breaking his neck. Isaac helps carry Megan back to his house.
When Callum is returned to the camp with the others, he and Kate end up in an argument over Megan being at fault for causing him these injuries, but Lucien points out that he hasn't been bitten like Polter had. Kate theorizes that Megan is alive, despite Callum's protests, and opts that they go out looking for her. The group agrees and they venture into the forest to look for her. During the night, they are attacked by one of the creatures and Lucien is killed. Back at Isaac's house, Isaac explains that the creatures are vampires and that people have been disappearing into the forest for decades because the vampires attack them and add them to their colony. Isaac was once a renowned doctor in the village, before he was lured into the forest along with a group of others when his children entered the forest to play. The vampires wiped out his children and his group, with him being the only survivor, and he has survived this long by farming garlic, which is apparently toxic to the vampires. The leader, the man in the green coat, was the first vampire and was the one who personally killed his children and transformed them, forcing Isaac to mercy-kill them.
The vampire leader, discovering Polter's body, instructs the other vampires to encircle the house, but they do not enter because of the garlic. Knowing that they will never leave this time, Isaac sets a trap around the house where he reveals a large cache of dynamite under his house and trails gunpowder out from the cellar, around the house. He knows that the vampires, as a collective, will be clever enough to bypass the garlic, and they do by damming the river, causing it to flood the garlic farm and null its effects on them. Ordering that they leave, Isaac produces two shotguns and several pistols and intends to fight them off. The vampires siege the house, and Isaac battles them, killing and injuring several of them, but they overpower him and begin to tear at him, but before they can he uses a cigarette lighter to ignite the gunpowder, springing the trap and causing the house to explode with most of the vampires inside. Megan watches the explosion and sees the leader illuminated in the flames, watching them.
The leader, with fifteen remaining vampires, ambushes Kate's group and takes Kate hostage, knowing it will draw Megan towards them. Megan discovers that the camp has been ransacked and follows Kate's trail, right before the spot where they are ambushed. She follows the trail of vampires over to the maze, where she sees they have tied Kate to a tree. En route, Megan deduces the place was once a plan for roads, considering there is dynamite webbed around the walls of the maze. When she tries to rescue Kate, the lead vampire appears, flanked by the others, including a transformed Callum. Revealing its ability to speak, it greets Megan, who realizes it looks exactly like her father before he died. Having been transformed, her father became the leader after killing the original leader and ensured that the vampires never crossed towards the village. Speculating that her father is dead but simply animated by a monster, Megan sees that Kitana has a tinderbox and eyes her towards one of the dynamite sticks while she distracts the lead vampire from her. On her signal, Kitana ignites the dynamite, causing a mass rockslide that kills all of the remaining vampire, bar the leader. In the chaos, Kitana and Megan untie Kate and escape.
In the escape, Kitana is outpaced, killed and torn apart by the leader, and Megan leads Kate towards the camp, whilst going in the opposite direction to distract the vampire. An intense chase begins through the forest, where Megan struggles to keep ahead of the vampire. It leads her towards the river, where she tries to fight the vampire, but fails due to the creature's superior strength. Believing that there is still a sliver of her father remaining, Megan prompts the vampire to strangle her and suddenly the vampire, within seconds of strangling her to death, hesitates due to Megan's assumption being right, and Megan takes advantage of this by blindsiding it and using a string of garlic to strangle the vampire from behind. As a last resort, the vampire moves to bite her, but she breaks its neck seconds before it can lay a tooth on her. Savagely injured and exhausted by the fight, Megan collapses near the vampire's body and sobs. Kate hears her sobs from afar and finds her, carrying her away.
Back in the village, Megan is being nursed for her injuries in the fight with the vampire, and the news that there were vampires but they have been wiped out earns the sisters some respect and admiration in the village. Kate and Megan reconcile and Kate soon leaves the room, revealing she's met a new boyfriend, but that subject is cut short because it reminds them of Callum. Kate leaves and Megan briefly takes a mirror to see the marks from her ordeal - she finds that she has no reflection. Megan blinks and when she looks back, she sees that she does have a reflection and it is just a trick of her mind. She leaves the room and follows her sister out into the village, safe and happy at last.
- Maisie Williams as Megan Brooks, a young girl who is obsessed with the prospect that monsters murdered her parents.
- Billie Piper as Kate Brooks, Megan's sister, who is embarrassed by her sister's obsession but soon becomes a kindred spirit once the killings begin.
- Christian Bale as Lucien Blunt, a mysterious and tough-demeanoured hunter who becomes Kate's protector in the group
- Dane DeHaan as Callum, Kate's boyfriend who is unsettled by Megan's antics, though that doesn't truly hinder his relationship with Kate up until his death
- Shaileen Woodley as Kitana, a resourceful and intelligent zoologist who befriends Megan and protects her at several points in the ordeal
- Mads Mikkelsen as Isaac, a reclusive, hardened and wisened man who lives in the forest, protected by a garlic farm from the vampires.
- Luke Evans as the lead vampire and Megan's father, who was killed by the vampires and reanimated as a vampire, becoming the leader of the colony and the main antagonist of the film.