Directed by David Casademunt, 'The Wasteland' is a Spanish horror drama movie alternatively known as 'The Beast,' 'El Páramo,' and 'La Bestia.' Set in the 19th Century, it follows Diego and his parents Lucía and Salvador, who live together in an isolated shack away from a war-stricken society. Salvador must flee after an awful event within the family.
As Diego and Lucía await Salvador's return, they are reminded of the story about the tragic death of Juana that he told them before leaving. All the details you want about Juana, her life, and how it happened can be found here. Warning!
Juana was Salvador’s older sibling. Tragically, she passed away when she was still just a small girl. Diego is told by Salvador of the "Beast", a frightening creature that thrives off despair, and who kills thousands each year. They are now more fearful of being killed than ever. They have a lower chance of getting killed. Salvador insists Salvador is correct and Juana recognized it. He is however interrupted by Lucía, who doesn't want Diego to hear the story further.
When the stranger whom the family sheltered attacks Diego and Lucía, Salvador kills him in self-defense. Diego feels shaken, and he asks Juana to help him. Diego is able to see the father's picture and so he calls. Salvador gives Diego a call, and he has many emotions about Juana. Juana and Salvador used to have evening stories together as children. Juana used to often refer to The Beast with her brother.
Juana was even more terrified after Juana received worse treatment from her parents. Salvador became her refuge as she panicked, claiming that the Beast was very close. Juana called her brother but he was unwilling to let Juana go. Salvador saw Juana from the window and died within minutes. This tragedy causes Salvador to live in guilt and instills a fear of The Beast in him, which he passes on to Lucía and Diego.
After Salvador sets out to find the dead man's family, Lucía and Diego's paranoia starts to increase. Juana's stories make Diego feel controlled and manipulated, until he suddenly discovers his father has vanished. Juana starts to appear in his room and Diego begins having hallucinations. He is shocked to see her make a move toward an unidentified entity. She then runs away from him. Juana is gone, Diego cannot help but imagine her passing. This was his first experience with life without his dad.
When Salvador doesn't return for long and his horse comes back without him, Lucía believes him to be dead. Lucia is sad and had attempted suicide. Diego saves her. Juana becomes increasingly tangible for Diego as a result of Diego’s loss. All this leads to The Beast coming into full existence, feeding off the hopelessness of Diego and Lucía.
Thus, Lucía and Diego are pushed into seeing The Beast for real due to their mental state, just like Juana. Their mental state makes it impossible for them to distinguish between reality and fantasies. They must escape an unimaginable fate.