Monday, October 1, 2018

Halloween 2018 #1: The Monster **1/2 (2016)

A minimalist horror movie, The Monster takes the basic premise of getting stranded on a lonely road in the woods where a monster roams and constructs a family melodrama. The story follows a mother and daughter who are at odds with each other and must overcome their fraught relationship to outwit a carnivorous creature. Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine make for a troubled mother/daughter relationship, one with a history of violence and alcoholism. Key moments are revisited in harrowing flashbacks. Then the film becomes a survival movie with hints of The Hills Have Eyes in the traumas they have to endure. Instead of being a succession of jump scares and gross out moments, the film turns emotional trauma into barebones horror. Although the last act is conventional, it's handled with artful grace. I suppose the monster could be a metaphor for addiction or a manifestation of the beast in all of us. Well shot and engaging, The Monster is worth a look. 

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