The Monster – USA, 2016

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The Monster is a 2016 American horror drama film written, co-produced and directed by Bryan Bertino (director of Mockingbird and The Strangers; co-producer of He’s Out ThereStephanie and The Blackcoat’s Daughter). The production title was There Are Monsters.

The film’s soundtrack is by tomandandy (47 Meters Down; Havenhurst; Sinister 2).

The film was released through DirecTV Cinema on October 6, 2016, before a limited theatrical release on November 11, 2016, by A24 (The Blackcoat’s Daughter; Swiss Army Man; The Witch).

Blu-ray and DVD releases, with an ‘Eyes in the Darkness’ featurette are scheduled for January 24 via Lionsgate and A24.

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Meanwhile, the creature feature is currently available via video-on-demand.

Main cast:

Zoe Kazan (In Your Eyes, Fracture), Scott Speedman (Underworld), Ella Ballentine (The Captive).

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Plot:

A divorced mother (Zoe Kazan) and her headstrong daughter must make an emergency late night road trip to see the girl’s father.

As they drive through deserted country roads on a stormy night, they suddenly have a startling collision that leaves them shaken but not seriously hurt. Their car, however, is dead, and as they try in vain to get help, they come to realize they are not alone on these desolate backroads – a terrifying evil is lurking in the surrounding woods, intent on never letting them leave…

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Review:

” …fans of creature features of the 80s are going to cream themselves at the seemingly practical effects work that looks like it was a nightmare to shoot. To see a high caliber filmmaker take a stab at this impossible subgenre is exciting, even if it’s a bit clunky in the end. With that said, the monster is pretty cool, and vicious, leaving a bloodbath in its wake.” Bloody Disgusting

“Like its titular beast, The Monster is a weird hybrid. The film occasionally terrifies, occasionally fizzles, and the weird mix doesn’t always work, but Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine still knock it completely out of the park. With his talent to get great performances out of his actors, maybe Bryan Bertino should next try focusing his talent on another blend of genres?” Ard Vijn, Screen Anarchy

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-59-27“Like The Strangers, the result is a simple but skillfully told shocker. Bertino makes nerve-shredding use of his 30-miles-from-the-middle-of-nowhere setting, while flashbacks deepen our knowledge of the two protagonists’ tortured relationship. And if The Monster doesn’t reach the nail-gnawing heights of Bertino’s earlier film, the same could be said of pretty much every other horror movie that has been released since.” Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly

“Overall, The Monster is a chilling movie that showcases two fantastic performances and the work of a filmmaker who’s willing to take some risks and makes it a priority to truly envelop the viewer in a nightmarish situation. It’s an engaging and worthy watch that teases great potential in everyone involved.” Perri Nemiroff, Collider

“By the time that The Monster reveals itself to be a horror film, we’re so engrossed in Kathy and Lizzy’s pain that the arrival of the titular menace strikes us as an authentic violation of normality, rather than as a ghoul arriving on demand per the dictates of the screenplay. The film has an eerily WTF arbitrariness that should be the domain of more films in the genre.” Chuck Bowen, Slant magazine

New and upcoming Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and theatrical releases

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“With The Monster, writer-director Bryan Bertino plants a prickly mother-daughter drama at the center of a violent creature feature. It’s an intriguing combination in theory, but the individual elements both feel a little half-baked, and stirring them up into one doesn’t help. They’re two mediocre tastes that taste mediocre together.” A.A. Dowd, A.V. Club

“Overall, The Monster is a chilling movie that showcases two fantastic performances and the work of a filmmaker who’s willing to take some risks and makes it a priority to truly envelop the viewer in a nightmarish situation. It’s an engaging and worthy watch that teases great potential in everyone involved.” Perri Nemiroff, Collider

“It’s so simple, that some horror fans might resent its seeming lack of interest in going into the nature of its menace – but, like The Strangers, it’s also a very effective fright machine, with telling, spiky character touches.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“We see perhaps a little too much of the monster towards the end but it’s still a genuinely menacing beast, but it’s the relationship between the mother and daughter, fighting their own monsters, which makes the film resonate beyond the frights.” Robert Martin, Starburst magazine

“Ballentine gives a fine, fierce performance as a child wise beyond her years and unafraid of confrontation. And Kazan … is unsurprisingly excellent in a role that calls for her to play both a raging alcoholic and a down-and-dirty scream queen, all while ultimately clawing her way to a bloody form of redemption. Not least of the surprises here is that even when The Monster is trying to scare you witless, its every scene insistently reaffirms its characters’ humanity.” Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

” …Bertino aims high with this violent chiller, but the material’s quest to be a profound study of dysfunction always outshines its horror ambitions. It’s a slow effort, painfully so at times, but the reward is a sharp psychological study that ends up being the most interesting conflict in the movie.” Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

Interview:

Creature designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. talk to Christopher Webster at Screen Anarchy

Cast and characters:

Wikipedia | IMDb

New and upcoming Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and theatrical releases

7 Comments on “The Monster – USA, 2016”

  1. This is a terrible movie. Don’t waste your time. The acting is not as good as the reviews say it is. The little girl is just plain annoying and is way too old to be carrying around a toy that sings that song. This movie SUCKS!!!!

  2. One of the shittiest movies of all time. The thrill is deliberately added and far from realism. The paramedics reach there only to overlook the patient after pulling in the van and search for the exciting monster. What a waste.

  3. We’re wondering what exactly is the creature that is in the movie. Something demonic or prehistoric or alien…my husband and I are having a debate on what this creature is. I myself think it is either prehistoric or demonic. Please someone tell me if I’m correct so I can win.. Lol. Thanks

    1. My guess is that it’s supposed to be the Jersey Devil. I believe the mom even calls it a “Devil” shortly after hitting it with the flashlight.

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