Gotta disagree with the mainstream critics on this one.
I decided to check out the limited release horror flick The Monster after seeing that it has a decent 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Written and directed by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) and starring Zoe Kazan, the film has a simple premise: A mother and daughter are hunted by a mysterious creature near the woods on a dark and stormy night after a car accident.
The stripped-down premise seemed intriguing enough, but I just couldn’t get into The Monster like I hoped I could. One of the main problems is the mother-daughter drama the film tried to shove in our faces. It’s clear early on that they don’t get along and Zoe Kazan is a terrible mother. But man, the daughter is really annoying too. Their relationship is supposed to form the emotional core of the movie and make us care about them. Instead, all the flashback sequences just made me want to see them die gruesome deaths immediately.
I was also not a huge fan of the performances. Zoe Kazan was fine and my problems with her were more due to the script, but the daughter, played by teenager Ella Ballentine, tried way too hard. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it overacting, though she was definitely overreacting with all the crying and irritating outbursts.
So was it scary? Not really. There were some effective moments early on when the atmosphere was being built up, though the actual design of the creature didn’t feel particularly original or frightening. Sadly, the final act of the film also fell back on typical horror cliches and wasn’t very believable at all. Just a disappointing experience all round.
2 stars out of 5