Monstrous 2022 is a new terrifying horror psychological thriller film directed by Chris Sivertson. Should it be on your watchlist? Check out my review.
Monstrous 2022 Movie Review
Christina Ricci stars as a traumatized woman who flees from her abusive ex-husband with her 7-year-old son. In their new, remote sanctuary they find they have a bigger, more terrifying monster to deal with.
This is set in the late 50s, based on the vehicles and the dress of the characters, which then this helps to make this have just a simpler feel to life, which can also then work to make the story more creepy because it doesn’t have any modern influences that muddy up the presentation.
We follow Christina Ricci as she is escaping her ex-husband with their son. They’re traveling from Arizona to California in an effort to start over. Now they arrive at this lonely and semi-remote house that’s near a Lake.
The boy Cody is sad and lonely and he avoids just pretty much all interactions and even eye contact. he will interact with his mom, but he seems reluctant to do so. And this makes him slightly mysterious or at least curious. And then certainly a bit odd.
While in their new location, he begins to see what he calls a monster outside his window. Obviously, he’s terrified and Christina Ricci as Laura is concerned, but also dismissive, believing that it’s just his imagination.
Laura also experiences some visual oddities as the film goes along, where some of her dreams feel very real to her and even affect her state of mind when she’s awake.
The film utilizes some dark and disturbing visuals with the shadowy looking figures that may or may not actually exist. And I like the feeling that these try to instill because what we are shown is obscured and it’s not too definitive. There’s a good amount of doubt on whether or not they’re real or just figments of the imagination.
There are also moments when Laura will have visions and nightmares, and the editing in these sequences is typically executed very well, where the perspectives will just change seamlessly. This work to add confusion to what’s going on, especially for her.
And there are several instances of these types of changing perspectives and that can either be a strength to the story or a massive red flag, If the story can’t make sense of those visuals.
Laura has some quirks and behaviors that cause us to skeptically look at her. She avoids all phone calls hanging up without really ever answering.
She feels a little manic too when dealing with Cody, as sometimes she’s just overly loving to him and then other times she’s very admonishing of him. The unevenness of her responses, it’s weird, and then it creates a sense of unease throughout the whole thing.
When Laura interacts with her landlords, those conversations are bizarre as well. The husband is even killed and he’s willing to listen to Laura and help out, but his wife is overly antagonistic, which seems wildly out of place since we don’t have any evidence that they’ve had any prior interactions.
Now, while this antagonism was consistent, it was wildly distracting since there’s no explanation for why it’s there or how it comes about.
I enjoyed the quiet sense of sadness and grief that just seems to permeate the story. It helps to create an ominous tone, and when that’s combined with the dark and those shadowy visuals, there’s some dread that’s created within the story.
But dread isn’t enough of a story driver, nor is an ominous tone. The story itself just feels a bit aimless as random characters are interjected here and there for these brief instances, only to create more vagueness to the plot.
And I’m not sure if that vagueness is actually meant to cause some doubt, or maybe it’s misdirection, because if they are, they just don’t do a good job.
The story is predictable, which then makes the 90 minutes run time feel longer than it actually is. I was really hoping that despite the narrative feeling obvious, that the story would contain some hidden elements that would completely turn it on its head, just upending expectations and assumptions.
And there is a twist, if you can call it that, but it’s overt. It’s exactly what I thought it was from pretty early on in the film.
The story is less clever than it believes it is, leading to just really a messy telling of the tale. But I do appreciate what’s at the core of the story. It has some moving and deep elements that really could be a beautiful reconciliation of emotions and issues.
And I think Christina Ricci has the ability to deliver on that. She does a great job of conveying her emotions in a convincing way, and her performance was captivating and even uncomfortable because of just her extreme ups and downs.
And because this film is called monstrous, you got to wonder where that comes from and then how it relates to the story.
One of the obvious answers comes from the visuals, but that’s too simple and easy. Is there an actual monster or is it just metaphorical?
Now there is an opportunity to really exploit these darker elements in order to dive deeper into the psychological aspect of the story, which I think they would make for a very intriguing character study.
And there are several angles to examine, and any of them could make for a compelling dynamic. But that’s not what the story chooses to do. The darker themes are only touched upon, choosing instead to be vague but obvious all at the same time.
So overall, Monstrous has a lot of good potential to examine a story of the horrors of loneliness, sadness, grief or fear. Christina Ricci has what it takes to pull off a convincingly fragile character, but the story doesn’t really want to dive headlong into the theme that it introduces.
The visuals, while wonky at points, do create a good sense of dread and unease helping to keep an ominous tone present throughout most of the film.
Now I would have preferred a less obvious route to the reveal creating a more complex, deep, and impacting story. There’s no sex or nudity, some profanity, and some violence.
I am going to give Monstrous 2022 2/5.
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