The Monster (2016)

The Monster aka The Metaphor.

A mother (Zoe Kazan) and daughter (Ella Ballentine) must confront a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road.

Similar to his earlier frightening flick, The Strangers, Bryan Bertino is back with his third feature film, The Monster, focusing again on a smaller story with two sole characters and one location. Lean, mean and executed with style, The Monster hits you right in the feels with this sad tale of a mother and daughter in the centre of a creature feature.

The story is simple, but for those expecting a traditional monster movie will be displeased, because despite the title of the film, the monster here is not necessarily what you expect. A good majority of the film is spent developing its two leading ladies. Bertino lets his scenes breath and build a good deal of suspense before leading to tumultuous ending.

The true brilliance of The Monster is the emotional performances from Kazan and Ballentine. They are both unforgiving and cruel towards each other. The toxic relationship between the two is so severe it’s gut wrenching to watch at times. The film is peppered with flashbacks that are downright heartbreaking, a specific scene stands out involving the two screaming at each other outside their house in their quiet neighbourhood. Kazan violently and repeatedly screaming at her young daughter “Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! FUCK YOU!” is a desperately sad moment but sharp as hell.

There perhaps is an overuse of flashback scenes, as it’s quickly realised this isn’t the normal mother-daughter relationship. The aggressive violent memories are mirrored with fleeting tender present moments between the two, making it all the more dismal.

The Monster is a well scripted, superbly acted heartfelt compelling monster movie. It is glossy and beautifully shot, its saturated blacks and murky colours draw you into a very intimate horror movie. Let not forget this is a monster movie, and although some may feel cheated from the narrative, if the drama doesn’t get you the practical effects and visceral action will have your heart pounding.

8.5 / 10

“Lets go back to the car”


6 thoughts on “The Monster (2016)

  1. Excellent write up! I really wanted to like this more than I did. The performances were excellent, and the first two thirds were brilliant, engaging, and intense. Then it just… no. It all fell apart at the end for me, and showed me WAY too much of the monster, which took so much of the creep factor out for me. Less is more!

    Liked by 1 person

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