Bryan Bertino burst onto the Horror scene eight years ago with the excellent Home Invasion flick, The Strangers (review HERE), and it took him 6 years to give us his sophomore effort, Mockingbird (review HERE), which was truly horrid.
Two years after that debacle, we're pleased to say that he's back on the right track with his third effort, The Monster.
The thing about The Monster though is that while it's a great creature feature, its true horror is steeped in the drama between its two main characters, which was both unexpected and powerful stuff.
|THEY LOOK SO HAPPY.|
|THIS IS WHERE BEING A BAD MOTHER LEADS TO!|
|YEAH, THAT'S NOT GONNA HELP.|
The thing about this movie is that it had depth. Kathy was a flawed human being whose demons basically destroyed her life, and made her into a pretty horrible parent. She loved her kid, but her addictions and life choices not only ruined the relationship between she and her daughter, but left the little girl pretty damaged. When the two of them end up in a situation that basically sees them at the mercy of a savage monster, Kathy realizes that as bad of a mother as she's been, she'd give anything to keep her daughter safe from harm.
The movie has a heavy emotional current that runs throughout that makes the Horror elements feel even more dire. The emotional beats in The Monster really, really worked for me.
Zoe Kazan, who I'd only thought of as kind of an Indie darling up until his point, blew me away with her heartbreaking performance as a wreck of a mother who losing her young daughter and can do nothing about it in this one. In the span of 92 minutes, she went from "Oh yeah, I know her" to "Jesus, this girl has chops." And let us say that her young costar, Ella Ballentine, was every bit as phenomenal, and maybe even more so given that she's a kid and doesn't have as much acting experience as her on-screen mom does. But the talent... well that beats experience every time.
|FUNNY HOW A MONSTER CAN BRING AN ESTRANGED FAMILY TOGETHER.|
Plot devices, gah!
|ALSO, STAY IN THE DAMN CAR!|
|SHE HAD A ROUGH NIGHT.|
|A SEXY, PILLED-UP HOOKER, THOUGH.|
|THIS IS WHY THERE'S A MOTHER'S DAY.|
The Monster is available now on VOD, and hits Blu-ray & DVD in January.
Zoe Kazan is so frigging cute it hurts our eyes to look at her.