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Review: Fernando Rivera’s Where Monster Hides (A Lighthearted Mix of The Babadook and Lights Out)

Fernando Rivera is becoming a prominent figure in the world of horror and science-fiction due to his novel The Afterliving (His Blood & Silver Book 1) and his upcoming theology tour at The University of San Diego next week. Also on the agenda is the official release of his debut short film, Where Monster Hides, which is currently enjoying screenings and receiving awards at Discover.Film,, and Hollywood Verge Film Awards. In the near future, Where Monster Hides, a Fern & Doe Media Production, will be seeing even more screenings and I’m happy to say that I’m one of the first critics to give this mini-movie a review. With all honesty, Where Monster Hides is better than I expected, and it’s safe for all members of the family; whether you’re an old school horror lover or a youngster enjoying the YouTube quality movies of this generation. It’s the clever, modern look of the film, its short and sweet run-time, and its lighthearted mix of The Babadook and Lights Out that makes it destined to grab the audience’s attention.

A simple story, Where Monster Hides sees a young man (Rivera) return home from a late night jog, only to discover a fantasy book he created during his childhood. Flipping through its tattered pages, hearty nostalgia turns to horror when the young man realizes the pages in the book are about to become reality, and an evil presence could be lurking in his house. Writer/director Fernando Rivera stars in this short film alongside Norma Maldonado (“Jane the Virgin”), Logan Frisby and Matt Steele. Where Monster Hides has cinematography by Guy Pooles, sound by Amanda Hughes and editing by Jasen Frisby. I normally don’t give sound techs a shout out, but the sound and the voice-overs were so crisp, so clear that I felt compelled to give Hughes some acknowledgement. Keeping in tandem, every member of Where Monster Hides‘ cast and crew put in a tremendous amount of effort that resulted in a polished and endearing short film good enough for film festivals around the world. A piece of real movie magic happened here, and the chemistry between all parties involved is evident on screen.

Without giving more of the plot away, Where Monster Hides falls into the psychological and suspense side of the horror genre, relying on crucial moments of realization and the choking feeling of “what’s about to happen” to sell its story. It’s not bloody, it’s not over-sexualized, it’s not nightmare inducing, but the suspense builds at a tremendous rate, resulting in a gratifying and realistic climax that closely resembles something out of Lights Out. The use of practical effects and costuming even lead the way for a more guttural reaction, one that would’ve been lost with the use of CGI. I’d say Where Monster Hides is a family friendly horror short that delivers on the goods without being cheesy and whimsical. It’s nearly flawless, aside from one fuzzy shot, and highlights Rivera’s talents as an actor, writer and film-maker. What a tremendous introduction to the world of horror film-making, and I can’t wait to see what other ghoulish ideas Rivera comes up with in the future. If you see this on an official selections list, make sure you stop by the venue and give Where Monster Hides a look-see.

Final Score: 8 out of 10.

Written by MGDSQUAN

(Senior Editor) MGDSQUAN