Kathy is the alcoholic and smoking addicted mother of the young, but mature teenager Lizzy. They live together since Kathy's husband Roy left her, and she neglects her daughter. Kathy is supposed to drive Lizzy to her father's home in the morning, but she sleeps until late afternoon and they have to travel during a rainy night. While driving through a lonely road through the woods, Kathy hits a wolf that breaks her car, leaving them stranded on the empty road. They call 911 and while waiting for the tow truck and an ambulance, the wolf disappears from the road. When the tow truck arrives, the mechanic Jesse tells that he needs to fix the axle and an oil leakage to tow her car. While repairing the vehicle, a monster attacks him but neither Kathy nor Lizzy note. When they seek Jesse out, they realize that they are not alone in the spot. Further, Kathy learns that monsters do exist. Will they be rescued on time?
Directed by: Bryan Bertino
. Starring: Zoe Kazan
, Ella Ballentine
, Aaron Douglas
, Christine Ebadi
, Marc Hickox
, Scott Speedman
, Chris Webb
. Music by: tomandandy
I'm a big fan of Bryan Bertino's first feature film "The Strangers", it was a somewhat realistic tense horror film that genuinely creeped me out. Since than Bertino hasn't been up to very much directing wise, in 2014 he released the film "Mockingbird" which was a huge disappointment and received a mostly negative response from fans of the horror genre. Now eight years after his last big hit Bertino gives us "The Monster", which is a super dark and dramatic monster movie that follows the struggling relationship between a young mother and her daughter, and also their encounter with a vicious monster on a desolate road in the woods.
The film gets started with a very somber pace, as we are introduced to our two main characters (A young girl named Lizzy and her mother Kathy) it becomes very clear that they have a dysfunctional relationship. Kathy obviously isn't a good mom; she's rude, irresponsible, and she has a drinking problem. This has lead to Kathy deciding Lizzy will most likely be better off living with her father, and this is where we come in on their story. Well into their trip to meet up with Lizzy's father the duo has a car accident leaving them stranded on a road far off from any populated area, and then monster stuff starts to happen. This set up may sound cliché but the film actually does it in a very unique and interesting way. As the film builds up to revealing the monster we are treated to some character development via extremely emotional flashbacks which highlight the big problems in Kathy and Lizzy's relationship. These flashbacks were extremely well done and really did a great job of getting me interested in the characters. The whole pacing of the film was great, and those who enjoy slow burn movies will appreciate it.
The film is very character driven and the small assortment of actors really did a great job of capturing that. Ella Ballentine, who plays Lizzie, does an outstanding job of playing a little girl who is desperate and angry for her mother to get her life together. She actually out acted her adult counterpart in the majority of the scenes. Zoe Kazan did a fine job of playing Lizzie's mother Kathy but Ella really stole the spotlight here and really helped to add to the realistic tone of the film. Even the supporting characters with very small roles managed to be believable and played their parts well, something you don't see too often in horror movies. Some of the best acting I've seen in a horror movie since "The Witch".
With how well done the characters and the story was it's easy to forget that this is a monster movie, an interesting premise and intriguing characters aren't exactly things you expect when watching a monster flick. But I'm glad the film makers went the route they did with it because it really added to the intensity of the monster once he is revealed. It's not the scariest looking monster, and the effects aren't top notch, but it definitely gets the job done. There were few scenes where the monster came off a little cheap looking, but those scenes were mostly made up for by some very brutal attacks by the monster. There isn't a whole lot of gore or kills, but the few that are featured are pretty vicious.
This was a great movie, it's emotional, realistic, and very well acted. Some may find it to be a little slow depending on what they are looking for, it's definitely not your usual fast paced gore fest type monster flick, but it is an extremely engaging dramatic horror flick that some people might really love.
Review by HorrorOverEverything from the Internet Movie Database.