Monstrous we originally watched at 2022 Glasgow Film Festival (part of Arrow Video FrightFest line up), now out on Digital in the UK and Ireland from Koch Films.
This indie period based supernatural thriller that stars Christina Ricci in the lead role. NO longer is she just known for being Wednesday Addams. A role that got her typecast from a young age and grown up too quickly on the screen.
We find ourselves in 1950’s America, Ricci is Laura a single mother. Whose life seems to be on the road living so long in certain places then moving on when things get tough, as if she’s running away from something or someone. Through phone calls we are teased it could be her husband, why we don’t know. Before this we open up with her son Cody (Santini Barnard) having nightmares with something lurking in the shadows, only to escape and live in the nearby lake. Over time Cody is attracted to that lake saying a pretty lady asks him to join her. He just wants to go home. With the phone constantly ringing (her husband?), Laura’s world is slowly falling apart leading us to learn what’s actually going on.
Monstrous actually plays like a Twilight Zone episode, more psychological thriller than horror. You quickly learn not all what it seems, if you are eagle eyed there is little clues that tease what is actually happening. The final scene being that unexpected twist.
When it comes to horror it is a bit lightweight. That may loose some hardcore horror fans will be disappointed they won’t get much more or even outright jump scare scare moments. If you consider yourself an horror aficionado, you know the horror genre isn’t just about the jump scares. It’s also psychological mind games too.
What Chris Sivertson’s film does do well is it’s 1950’s setting. From it’s interiors, music to Laura’s fashion. You can clearly see Monstrous is a indie with very limited or no budget as some special effects look a little cheap looking. Christina Ricci does a lot of heavy carrying of the film especially as we see everything from Laura’s point of view. We see she is someone with vulnerability but also a protective Mother who’ll do anything for her child, however does run away from problems rather than try face it head on.
Monstrous does at times attempt to play like a Lynchian nightmare, tiptoeing between camp and Kitsch. Only let down with many underdeveloped paths saved by the bell by Ricci’s solid performance.
Horror, Thriller | USA, 2021 | 15 | Digital HD | Koch Films | Dir.Chris Sivertson | Christina Ricci, Santini Barnard, Colleen Camp, Don Baldaramos, Nick Vallelonga | Buy Monstrous (iTunes)
originally posted at The Peoples Movies , 2nd August 2022 | Original link