Kathy is the alcoholic and smoking addicted mother of the young, but mature teenager Lizzy. They live together since Kathy’s husband Roy left her, and she neglects her daughter. Kathy is supposed to drive Lizzy to her father’s home in the morning, but she sleeps until late afternoon and they have to travel during a rainy night. While driving through a lonely road through the woods, Kathy hits a wolf that breaks her car, leaving them stranded on the empty road. They call 911 and while waiting for the tow truck and an ambulance, the wolf disappears from the road. When the tow truck arrives, the mechanic Jesse tells that he needs to fix the axle and an oil leakage to tow her car. While repairing the vehicle, a monster attacks him but neither Kathy nor Lizzy note. When they seek Jesse out, they realize that they are not alone in the spot. Further, Kathy learns that monsters do exist. Will they be rescued on time?
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
User Reviews: The Monster was slightly better than I expected it to be. It manages to take a very basic plot and turn it into something more engaging than you’d think. But it is by no means a great film.
First of all, the pros. The acting from the two lead characters, especially Zoe Kazan, who plays the mother, is pretty good. These two show a ton of emotion throughout the film that really hooked me in and made me feel for them. I’m happy to say that the child performance was solid. Child performances are too often cringe-worthy, but this one was okay. Not fantastic by any means, but not terrible.
The direction and tension the director managed to create, with the atmospheric lighting, camera movements, and shot composition, was very good. You can tell a lot of effort went into creating a tense, suspenseful atmosphere.
The makeup effects on the monster were decent. They are 100% practical, no CGI. If you appreciate practical effects like I do, you might enjoy this monster design.
Lastly, the final act of the movie was pretty strong. It was engaging, emotional, intense, and all around the best part of the film.
Now the cons. The story is the definition of mediocre. Two people get stranded on a deserted road and a monster from the woods terrorizes them. The film tries to engage the viewer more by making the primary focus of the story about the strained relationship between the mother and daughter and how this terrifying experience brings them together. On some aspects this works, but it’s not enough to make the plot anything more than average at best.
The dialogue was also very shoddy at points and felt unnatural and forced. I wouldn’t call it terrible, but it wasn’t great either.
Lastly, some of the decisions the characters made just had me scratching my head. They came across as nonsensical and just flat- out dumb.
Overall, this is a pretty average movie. I’d recommend one watch just for the decent performances and direction and a cool monster. Don’t expect anything great. Expect a flawed film with an unoriginal plot with some good aspects scattered throughout, and you might enjoy it.