09th Nov2017

‘Monster X’ Review

by Philip Rogers

Stars: Leslie Easterbrook, Matt Tatroe | Written and Directed by Jaysen P. Buterin, Daniel B. Iske, Patrick Rea, Sean van Leijenhorst

monster-x-us-poster

Monster X is a fun monster flick which gives a twist to some of the classic monsters of the genre. As with most horror anthologies it has varying degrees of success, but with the movie’s short running times each of the films are direct in their approach, so it moves at a good pace and doesn’t feel drawn out.

The stories are connected by a sub story involving a couple of their first date to a Frightfest horror marathon, but unbeknown to them during this showing the monsters on the screen are also coming to life in the cinema. Set up as its own standalone story, the segments in the cinema do not necessary have a real connection to each of the short film, but thanks to some good editing between the events it sets up a smooth transition between the two. They are more of a nod to the genre with both direct and indirect horror Easter eggs which most fans will appreciate.

The first short film is called Banshee and is the most serious of the short films, which does well to convey a complete story and successfully build up the suspense in such a limited time. Giving a slight twist to the classic J horror, the screaming Banshee takes the form of a pale woman dressed in white and is based on an Irish urban legend. If you hear her scream a family member will die, if you see her scream you will be next to die. I liked the way they add depth to mythology in the film which help to create some genuinely tense moments, although it feels rushed due to the running time. They do well within the time frame, although I feel this time of story needs a longer to develop so it doesn’t feel so condensed.

The second film called Howl of a Good Time has a more light-hearted tone, which you can sense from the start. When three young girls try and get into an invitation only screening using a letter from their father, only to be refused. Undeterred one of the girls manages to gain entry through a back door, but after making her way inside the cinema is set into an automated shutdown, with all entrances locked and secured. The film sets up the theme perfectly with the cast hamming up their performances to a comical effect. The film is suggestive as to how the events will unfold to try and offset the audience, before delivering an explosive twist at the end. It is cleverly executed and reminded me of the Creepshow (1982) anthologies which had an unusual comedic horror.

Now That Your Dead is my favourite segment film, due to its creative was in which the story unfolds. When a woman deliberately returns home early after suspecting her husband’s infidelity, she takes her revenge by shooting them both. But when she takes the bodies to be deposed of, she soon finds that they may not be as dead as she expected. Despite the dark theme of the story, this is the most fun. The film skilfully plays with the balance of power, as control unexpectedly seems to be passed back and forth between the characters. Just when you think the film has come to its conclusion, another twist is thrown in the mix and earlier actions ironically adding to their downfall.

The final film Don’t let the Light in will have a familiar feel for fans of the Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). When babysitter arrives at a job she finds that the child has already been left alone, with no parents in the house to meet her. Despite her initial concern regarding the parents, it looked as though it was going to be an easy evenings, except for a loud banging from upstairs.  Dismissing the boys claim that it’s monsters in his bedroom, she is eventually forced to confront him to find out what’s really going on

Although there are familiarities themes to the final segment of the Twilight Zone: The Movie, Don’t let the Light in, does have a nice twist to the story, giving it taking it in a different direction to what you may have expected.

Monster X may not be a perfect anthology collection, but the mixture of horror and comedy manages to keep the film entertaining. It may not always work, but there is at least something in each film which makes it worth watching. If you approach the film with an open mind, it is a bit of fun and with a relatively short running time it is not a bad way to spend an hour.

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