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Review: Chris Von Hoffmann’s “Monster Party”

Sam Strike. Julian McMahon. Robin Tunney. Brandon Micheal Hall. Lance Reddick. A mansion. Tension. Suspense. And a whole lot of blood! What more could you want? Well, RLJE Films’ latest release, Monster Party, has all of that and much more. This review is going to get somewhat spoilery, but you’re not going to find anything massive that would ruin the movie. Still, beware. Shot under Dark Web Productions, Kodiak Pictures and Defiant Studios by writer/director Chris Von Hoffmann, Monster Party follows three young, down on their luck friends who work a second job as small time thieves. With their own personal demons causing even more financial turmoil, they aim higher – pretending to be waiters and chefs at a huge mansion party. It’s only after the festivities begin that they realize the dinner guests are hiding a dark secret and a bloody addiction. Now, it’s a fight to get out of the mansion before the luxurious party becomes a macabre mass funeral. Produced by Eric B. Fleischman, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Fred Berger and Jessie Berger, Monster Party stars Sam Strike (Leatherface), Virginia Gardener (Halloween 2018), Brandon Micheal Hall, Kian Lawley, Erin Moriarty (“Jessica Jones”), Robin Tunney (The Craft), Julian McMahon (“Nip/Tuck”) and Lance Reddick (John Wick).

I’m not going to talk about the cast much because, obviously, they’re all incredible actors. I mean, just look at that list. Seasoned, professional, emotive and devilishly delightful in Monster Party. I’m so thrilled to see Robin Tunney in a horror film and Julian McMahon will always be Mr. Cole Turner. Here’s my problem, though. As much I love the actors in this movie, I absolutely hated every single character. Casper, Iris and Alexis were tolerable at best, and everyone else deserved to die. The douchy “I’m better than you because I’m rich” atmosphere is so apparent and being a criminal is far from hip, so there isn’t much empathy going on here – at least from me. Monster Party is the type of movie where you cheer whenever someone dies, not whenever someone gets away. And, spoiler alert, I thought they were all going to be vampires that were somehow able to walk around in the day. Wrong! It turns out they are all reformed serial killers battling the addiction to murder. Of course, when one of them relapses, it sends the whole party into a tizzy. While I hated the characters immensely, I do have to give writer/director Chris Von Hoffmann props for creating a script that’s original, complex, gory and capable of pulling emotions from the audience – even if it’s not the right emotions.

Monster Party is a mix of Happy Death Day and Don’t Breathe. You’ll have to watch it to find out how I make those connections, which is great considering that Monster Party is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of RLJE Films. It features cinematography from Tobias Deml and editing from Gehrig Burnett Jr. and Joe Rosenbloom. Beneath the pulse-pounding action sequences, the blood splattering the white walls, and crazy tantrum after crazy tantrum, this movie has a few apparent themes. First, people will do anything when sucked into the underbelly, filled with porn, strip clubs, theft, drugs, and gambling. Hold your inhibitions in, folks. Secondly, you never know what’s going on in someone’s life, even if they’re rich. It’s true, money doesn’t buy happiness, and sometimes you can find solace and peace in the dark. Another theme was ass play, which was mentioned like every fifteen minutes, and that one needs explaining. But, hey, Monster Party has great camera work and musical scores that range from classical to retro to modern rap. Both areas of production always added to the cinematic quality that this new release has to offer. At times the special effects needed a little work, but overall this was a solid production.

Withdrawal can be a bitch, but Monster Party is fantastic! One of the best slow burners in a while. Final Score: 8 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)