MONSTROUS is a new horror movie starring Christina Ricci. This indie production does have quite a lot going for it. But also several things that were not my cup of tea. The basic premise is intriguing but the execution didn’t work for me. Read our full Monstrous movie review here!
MONSTROUS is a horror, mystery, thriller hybrid, and thinking of it as simply “a horror movie” isn’t advisable. It’s coming out in theaters and on-demand after having screened at a few genre film festivals already. Christina Ricci stars in the film which – in my book, anyway – means we’re off to a good start.
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This is an indie production which means a lower budget, but it doesn’t show too much. My main issue with this genre hybrid is that it was way too slow at first, which meant the intriguing story was left on the back burner for quite some time before it really evolved.
Continue reading our Monstrous (2022) movie review below.
Low budget but still high quality
While this is a low-budget indie production, that does not mean that the quality can’t be high. In fact, the quality of many indies and low (or lower) budget production can be much higher than some blockbusters. Especially in terms of plot and character development. I won’t say that these are the main strengths in Monstrous but it does have much going for it.
Obviously, the effects aren’t at a Marvel-level, but they don’t need to be either. And there are quite a lot of effects in this horror mystery. Including monsters that are directly inspired by horror creatures from the 1950s. In fact, the story plays out in a world that is pure Americana, so it makes sense. Even if it does go a bit far with this “period piece” setting at times.
Also, I have to mention that I am getting very tired of the “blue filter” that magically turns day into night in a way that does not work for me. At all. The moon is shining so brightly that everyone is sweating and squinting. Surely there are more intelligent ways to get around this?!
That’s not a critique at Monstrous in particular, since I have seen it a lot over the years. I’ve also seen it even more in recent weeks, so now I felt the need to mention it. Call it a pet peeve, if you will.
A horror mystery with plot twists
Maybe I am just becoming a jaded movie fan because I find myself guessing huge film-ending plot twists within five minutes of a film’s runtime. For Monstrous, I managed to guess two main plot twists very early on. We’re talking 5-10 minutes into the barely 90-minute runtime. Obviously, this does put a damper on the rest of the movie-watching experience.
However, it is not that I felt the story was bad in any way. It’s just that the execution was lacking in a way that made me guess some things too fast and get tired of others. Christina Ricci is good – if you like her, you should be very happy with her in Monstrous as well, since this is very much her movie.
For the record, I am not one of those people who feel like I can guess everything. I did not guess the plot twist of The Sixth Sense and I still don’t think I would’ve seen it coming today. In fact, I hope not!
For me, it’s just that these days many plot twists feel too forced or contrived. Instead, I feel that many TV series are much better at delivering the gut punches that movies did in the past.
Or, as I said, maybe I am just becoming jaded. Though I really hope not, since it’s much more “on brand” for me to be a happy-go-lucky fan of awesome genre movies. No matter the budget, language, or familiarity of the cast. Even if a good cast can (somewhat) save a bad movie.
Watch Monstrous from this Friday the 13th
Chris Sivertson is the director of Monstrous which had me very intrigued since he directed I Know Who Killed Me (2007) which is nowhere near as bad as its 3.6 IMDb rating would have you believe. In fact, it even has Bonnie “The Nun” Aarons in the cast along with many other great actors. It suffers mostly for being released just as its star Lindsay Lohan was coming apart in the public eye.
Also, and more importantly, he co-directed All Cheerleaders Die (2013) with Lucky McKee. Horror fans will know Lucky McKee from iconic horror movies such as May (2002) and The Woman (2011). The two also co-wrote that particular movie and it seems he directs better when he also writes the screenplay.
For Monstrous, the screenplay was written by Carol Chrest (The Prophet’s Game). It’s not that I don’t like the screenplay, because I do enjoy much of the story.
In the end, I found Monstrous to be intriguing in some ways, but not a fan of the execution. To put it nicely, but honestly, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. However, I feel very confident that others will love both the style and plot twists, so do give it a shot – especially if you like Christina Ricci.
Monstrous is out On Demand and in theaters on Friday the 13th of May, 2022.
Director: Chris Sivertson
Writer: Carol Chrest
Cast: Christina Ricci, Santino Bernard, Colleen Camp, Don Baldaramos, Nick Vallelonga
A terrifying new horror awaits Laura (Christina Ricci) and her seven-year-old son Cody when they flee her abusive ex-husband and try to settle into a new life in an idyllic and remote lakeside farmhouse. Still traumatized, their physical and mental well-being are pushed to the limit as their fragile existence is threatened.