Movie Review – The Monster (2017)

The Monster
Directed by Bryan Bertino
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: January 24, 2017

THE MONSTER might very well be the best film I’ve seen in 2017 thus far. Granted, we are only nine days into the new year, but I’ve seen several excellent movies already. This one, however, is definitely in the Top 5, and I wager it will stay there for a while.

THE MONSTER is a creature-feature horror/drama that boasts real, practical special effects instead of cheap CG. But in addition to the horrifying titular beast, the film is overflowing with drama as well; and despite the familiar plotline, the audience is taken on a thrill ride nonetheless. If you’re any kind of fan of horror, you must make a note to check out this film ASAP, once it hits store shelves at the end of the month.

If you are not familiar with THE MONSTER, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

A mother and daughter must confront a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road.

I am very impressed with what director Bryan Bertino is able to accomplish with this film. Not only does he manage to scare the crap out of the audience, but he also takes them on an emotional rollercoaster. The result is an intense and emotive journey that will leave you thoroughly entertained.

THE MONSTER is shot very well and looks great onscreen. Bertino does an excellent job of setting a desolate, foreboding atmosphere, and the whole film plays out perfectly in it. I particularly like the remote locale used for the breakdown. This stretch of highway feels unbearably lonely, and it’s a perfect accent for the terror that ensues.

The acting is very good, with both leads doing an amazing job in their roles. Zoe Kazan plays the alcoholic mother, and she does so like a pro, while young Ella Ballentine shines as the daughter, Lizzy. Both women play off of each other very well, and the onscreen chemistry makes them feel like a true mother and daughter.

The special effects in THE MONSTER are award-worthy. The creature looks real and the carnage is brutal. I am so, so happy filmmakers are still using practical effects, as CG just sticks out too much. And while the monster itself might be only slightly original, the talent of the effects crew still breaks through. I hope to see them on future projects as well.

THE MONSTER is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it. The film has loads of tension and several scenes that will make you squirm in your seat. Give this one a look for sure…just don’t take any desolate roads home afterwards…


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