A mother and daughter must confront a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road.
Everyone knows I’m a sucker for a good monster flick. In my younger and greener years I was all about the zombie genre, but I do believe my tastes have somewhat matured. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the state of the casual horror flick. What used to satisfy my beered and blazed brain cells no longer scratches the same itch, especially since having to actually watch films to critique them. Whereas in the past I’d pretty much sated myself with whatever I managed to pick up at the DVD store, the internet and streaming sites have turned me into something of a snob, turning my nose up at what once would have been considered a lucky find in a bargain bin.
Used to feeling perpetually underwhelmed, I had high hopes for “The Monster” after watching what seemed like a pretty sick trailer. I usually skip trailers these days and stick with a synopsis as most teasers contain half the fucking film, but I was desperate for something good to chew through and this one really seemed like something I could sink my teeth into.
So let’s chew the fat. The Monster is fantastic. It’s everything I wanted it to be and more – so much more. There is actual character development; real people thrown into a shitty situation. It’s not the usual stereotypes sent prematurely to their untimely demise, and gratefully so. There’s no forced dialogue or unbearable acting…It’s a genuinely great film and not just a horror romp.
Why? The film’s major focus is on the dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship between Kathy and Lizzy (played by Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine respectively). A good third of the film is backstory and flashbacks, but in a good way. I doesn’t detract from the plot and adds a lot of depth to what would otherwise have been a pretty shallow film. The movie is a dysfunctional family drama way before it becomes a horror flick, and that’s exactly what you want a good horror movie to be: a fully fleshed out film rather than just vapid gore porn. I was actually expecting the mother to be “The Monster” after watching the first few minutes of the film due to her utter parental ineptitude. This did not turn out to be the case…Instead, the monster from 2005’s Feast seemed to be the culprit. What a crazy coincidence.
The film unfortunately runs out of steam right before the end. It’s rather anticlimactic, considering all that we have just gone through. There were so many other ways for the ending to have played out, but sadly it really missed the mark. I suppose it made sense considering the direction the film in its entirety was headed, but after such a solid, rich and fleshed out adventure, it left me hungry for something more.
Cinematically, there is little to fault. The direction, writing, acting and cinematography are all top notch. There is no real score to speak of, more like eerie background noises and clever, creepy monotonous notes and chords which blend seamlessly with the sounds of the storms and rainfall wherein which the majority of our action takes place. It’s well shot and and never once feels cheap; even the special effects are on point.
The Monster is a really good film. Unfortunately, it was almost a great film. Definitely worth your time and money though. Familiar enough to be enjoyable, different enough to be entertaining. Catch the trailer below and be sure to leave a comment.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.