Curt’s Crappy Movie & T.V. Reviews: The Monster (2016)

By Curtis Suthard – 6/17/2017

Before we get started here, I wrote this one quite a while back, as a test, of sorts, to see if I could actually do a somewhat decent job writing a movie review. And, the results are: Meh! I mean it’s not great, but, so what? This is what lead to the creation of Curt’s Crappy Movie & (eventually) T.V. reviews. Just throwing it up here for the heck of it! Enjoy!

The Monster

(2016)

 

Lizzy is a troubled young girl. She suffers through a rough home life due to her irresponsible, alcoholic mother and all the trauma that comes with living with someone like that. Lizzy and her mother, Kathy, seem to reach a mutual decision that maybe it’d be best for Lizzy to go live with someone else (her father, I think). Lizzy and Kathy set out on the trip to Lizzy’s new digs by car. Of course, they end up in some deep, dark woods, in the dead of night, where Kathy hits a wolf and jacks up the car, stranding them until help arrives. Unfortunately, they are not alone. Bum Bum…. Buuuummmmm!

I was hoping for a good little creature-feature flick, as the trailer I saw led me to believe that’s what I’d get. Which is not exactly what this movie turned out to be. Instead, what you get is a movie where the actual conflict with the terrifying monster in the woods, seems to be symbolic of the for the relationship between Lizzy and her mom. Or maybe the Monster is symbolic of Kathy’s addiction and alcoholism? I don’t know. I’m not that bright and not afraid to admit it. I guess it reminded me a little of The Babadook (which is a movie I’m still on the fence about), a seemingly generic horror movie that has a deeper meaning. Unfortunately, the one thing I am definitely certain of; The Babadook is much better.

The main thing that keeps this movie from being just a straight up horror flick is that you constantly get glimpses of the conflict between Lizzy and Kathy, as well as Kathy vs. addiction, in flashbacks that pop up throughout. These glimpses into the not-so-distant past are actually positive, in my opinion, making me care about the two main characters a bit more than most others in any given horror movie. The flashbacks also provide the best acting in the whole film as well. Lizzy, played by Ella Ballantine and Kathy, played by Zoe Kazan, do a great job in each of the scenes. Though sometimes these moments pull you out of the present day events and the tension that had been building.

Now the rest of the movie is made up of some good ol’ fashioned monster terrorizing and victim eating. Though the Monster seems to have a good sense of ratcheting up the tension, as it has a few opportunities to chow down on little Lizzy, but instead opts to hold off and save her for dessert. Everyone else though is part of an open buffet, as they all make the stereotypical dumb decisions that lead getting chewed on.

The blood and gore is actually not that bad. There’s a severed limb (which gets casually tossed onto the hood of the car. Which is weird? Why would a seemingly savage, viscous beast toss aside a morsel like that?) Others who come up against the Monster and live (at least for awhile) get plenty of cuts and scrapes, but nobody gets disemboweled or anything. So, it isn’t too graphic. Which ,I guess, can be seen as either a plus or minus depending on the viewer

And then there is the title character himself, and let me just say that it’s great to see Zuul, from the first Ghostbuster’s, getting some film work all these years later! Seriously, the title character, The actual Monster who is stalking and chowing down on everybody, looks kinda’ cheap. It looks like a medium-sized shaved bear with oversized chompers. The problem with the look of it only comes when the Monster is shown in good light. The filmmakers should have left the Monster a little more ambiguous and kept it out of full view. Sometimes less is scarier. Or spend a little more time and money, design and effects.

 

Overall, this movie isn’t that bad and deserves to be given a chance and seen at least once. If you are looking for a splatter fest, monster film, this really isn’t that. There is plenty of tension, but it’s not exactly “edge of your seat” level tension. The flashbacks definitely help make the characters more sympathetic and real, but may detract a little from the horror aspects, as well as dissolving some of the flow of the aforementioned tension. The worst part of the whole thing is the actual, physical Monster. The look of the creature itself is a letdown. One of the reasons, I feel, that The Babadook (yes, I’m comparing it to that again) is much better, is the creature/monster design and look was so good and creepy in that film. Even after knowing what the terror in that movie looked like, it was still creepy and terrifying. The Monster here is just underwhelming. Which is why I give this flick a solid 2 out of 5 on the Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

So, there we go! If you want to drop me a line or maybe even have a suggestion for a movie that we could review, feel free to hit me up at curt@nerdnationradio.com or you can even check me out on Facebook at the Nerd Nation Radio page!