Director – Bryan Bertino (The Strangers, Mockingbird)
Starring – Zoe Kazan (Bored to Death, Me and Orson Welles), Ella Ballentine (Clara’s Deadly Secret, Time Tremors), and Aaron Douglas (Supernatural, The Flash)
Release Date – 2016
Rating – 2.5/5
After watching the amazing no-budget horror comedy Beyond the Valley of Belief I decided it was the perfect time to watch a well grounded horror flick. The problem was deciding which movie to actually go with. Do I go with one of the few Scream Factory releases awaiting review? Or, do I hit up the two Troma releases that I am looking forward to checking out?
I decided to go with the more traditional monster movie and went with The Monster. I had been receiving press releases for this film for sometime and was curious to see how well it played out. I do have to note that the creature and marketing around this film looks a hell of a lot like Concept Media’s Don’t Fuck in the Woods. Either way, I’m glad I was able to check it out.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows an alcohol dependent mother and her abused daughter as they travel down a dark road late at night. They are making their way drop her off at her father’s house for the weekend when they hit a wolf with the car. They wait for an ambulance and tow truck to arrive and notice the wolf is now gone. They think they just hurt the animal and it went on it’s way but what actually happened is far more worse. There is something else lurking in those woods and wants to turn the two into a meal.**Spoiler Alert**
Several people told me to check this one out because I would enjoy it. I wonder what they referring to because I got very little enjoyment out of the film. The creature was decent and the story had it’s moments but my biggest complaint was the characters. I did not like how they were written and how they interacted.
The acting in this one is solid to say the least. The cast seems to know what they are doing and are really good at drawing out the viewer’s emotions but they were so poorly written. Their interactions, angry or not, does not feel genuine. The supporting cast is does a solid job as well but their actions are poorly written as well. They just don’t seem authentic. The story for this one is a slow burner and all credibility and atmosphere is ruined with flashbacks.
The story following the dysfunctional family consisting of the abusive mother and the abused daughter is very emotional. I have a daughter that is about to turn three and I couldn’t imagine what I would do to someone if they talked to her like that. This really made me emotional. However, the impact of the scenes and the suspense is ruined with the random flashbacks that serve very little purpose. The writing needed to be a little tighter and the story needed to be more linear.
Finally, the film has several on screen kills and a practical effects monster. The on screen kills are nothing new or memorable but they did have some damn near perfect practical effects. The gags are spot on and really surprised me. Sadly, the creature was reminiscent of the beast in Don’t Fuck in the Woods which has been heavily promoted on the site for three years now. Hard to believe that they thought of the design for the creature on their own years after the DFitW creature was making it’s rounds on various horror sites. The creature looks good but we’ve seen it before.
Overall, The Monster just didn’t live up to the hype. The film did get to me emotionally for a few moments but the editing completely ruined the film’s atmosphere and tension. Skip it.