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Reviews for The Monster ( 2016 )

Don't go ... outside the car (IMDB: 7)

On: 6/19/2017 12:00:00 AM By: kosmasp
The relationship between the mother and her child is the number one priority here. So while this is a horror movie (mostly in the psychological area), it is also a Drama. And some of the best Horror movies (that are not Slashers or particularly explicitly violent) have been Dramas at heart too.

And while I get that the child may seem annoying to some and some decisions made feel rushed, the casting was good and the script was decent enough giving them all something to play with (no pun intended). The movie is very dark (both in tone and in visual flair) and while it does drift into expected (read cliché territory) and has somewhat of a downfall towards the end (and maybe for some a slow beginning), overall the positive things do win over ...

Drama, Horror and Plenty of emotions. (IMDB: 7)

On: 1/29/2017 12:00:00 AM By: Ahmed Samir
The Monster (2016) from the same director of The Strangers (2008), my expectations to this film were limited, didn't know what to expect but a scary movie about a monster, fortunately the movie serves way more than this.

The movie discusses the relationship between mothers and daughters in a very beautiful way and how strong that bond is even at the worst times, then it uses the horror factor as a metaphor to show the real bond between them, and whatever problems happen between them just fade away when they're about to lose each other, So I thought this was smart and very nicely done.

The acting in this film is probably one of the best I have recently seen, I was very attached to the characters and actually cared for them, as for the horror there are some effective jump scares and the mood is very dark the whole movie, also the atmosphere of this film sucks you even though when there isn't a lot going on-screen.

In a nutshell, the monster is definitely a great underrated Drama/Horror film that deserves to be watched at least once.

Drama Horror at it's Finest - but know your expectations ! (IMDB: 8)

On: 1/12/2017 12:00:00 AM By: marcwiechmann
I want to start my review with the clear message, that this is an awesome (!) movie, but that it is also not for everyone. It is a drama, with some horror elements, which are mainly metaphoric. It is NOT a straight on horror movie - if you search for that, watch "Siren", "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" or "Last Shift" (my 2016 favorites) - "The Monster" is not that kind of movie ! Some other reviews find harsh words for this pearl of a movie, I even read someone saying like "they had no more ideas, so they tried to make more time with those stupid flashbacks" - OMG xD These are what the movie is about ^^ So please consider this, before picking this one and before writing a horrible review - it does not deserve anything but love :-)

You all can read the plot synopsis, so I will only sum it up - a young, alcoholic mother wants to deliver her daughter to live with the father. On a dark and rainy road they get attacked by something monstrous and try to survive.

Sounds generic? Yes, totally. But this is only the frame of the movie, nothing more - it does not have to be original, since this would reduce your attention to the main aspect of the movie. It's true heart lies in the flashbacks, which are telling the painful, dysfunctional relationship of mother and daughter in it's most hurting moments. For people that had kind of a bad childhood, this may hurt, you should consider this before watching - it is played outstandingly good by the actresses, feels very real and, well, it simply hurts to watch.

"The Monster" delivers great acting, a very good plot (this might be the only thing I did not like - the metaphoric aspects were pretty obvious. Still done well, but they could have been a little bit less direct), nice tension, and beautiful cinematography. I mention the acting again - Zoe Kazan was outstanding in her performance as troubled mother, and I promise you will see Ella Ballentine in more movies. Maybe one of the best child performances I have seen so far. Not THE best, but in the Top 10.

Okay, I admit, there are some weaknesses in the plot - some of the decisions, especially in the last third of the movie, made me wonder a bit, since I personally would have thought of more practical solutions, and I am pretty sure I would have brought me and my kid out of this situation alive and well. But that is always easy to say from the warm safety of my couch, and I did know against what I have to fight. If this moments would have been real, in the dark, rainy wilderness, hurt, confused and shocked - I'd probably so totally panic out, that I'd kill myself by accident before defeating the monster xD Also, come on - we are horror fans, or you wouldn't read this. I have seen hundreds of horror movies - literally, you can see my list, which is only the tip of the iceberg - and have seen SO many SO stupid decisions - in "The Monster" they weren't that bad. So I can look beyond that (and beyond wondering about the monster's behaviour at moments).

The monster itself was awesome - it had it's own style, looked really dangerous, was animated great, and, as far as I could see and have read, there is zero CGI in there, it's all practical effects. This is really impressive.

So, yes, I absolutely agree to watch this movie, if you like dramas, if you like slow paced horror, if you like movies with a real plot, strong acting (and strong girls!) if you like movies in which you can see the heart and effort of the production team in every scene, and if you like those movies that are just a little bit different than the generic mainstream scene. I guess we all can enjoy some mainstream here and there, but "The Monster" is one of those movies you will remember.

And now go and watch it. Oh, by the way, 100 % girlfriend/wife/love interest watchable.

I give it 8 points, which may be one or two too much, considering the legendary movies of all times, which have an 8 something rating - but since there are just too many undeserved bad reviews, I wanted to steer against that a little bit :-)

Have a nice day! :-)

A Good Indie Horror Flick (IMDB: 7)

On: 11/13/2016 12:00:00 AM By: Chris Shaw
There are a lot of strong opinions on this film in its early reviews. I just want to give a practical commentary on what I see.

This is a great horror flick with some heavy symbolism. It is a story about a mother and daughter who are terrorized by a monster when their car gets stuck. A lot of dudes (or women haters) seem to hate it (check the low reviews and notice the colorful words they have for women). As a dude myself, I had no problem watching a film from a female perspective. I rather enjoyed it and found it touching at times.

The characters are both flawed. I related with the daughter at times because I grew up with a flawed father. I acted and reacted a lot of the ways the daughter in the film did too. So from my perspective, there was some heavy realism in the backstory. I found the "boring" moments to be touching.

The practical effects are superb in my opinion. Some will disagree though.

Some of the writing is flawed in regards to character choices. I think discourse could answer some of the choices, but my fellow horror film nerds seem to be either accepting or spiteful of cliché character fails in the genre. I could see past them though for quality story though.

So if you don't get angry being put in a woman's perspective and like horror films, this should be right your alley.

Atmospheric, Tense and Melancholic (IMDB: 6)

On: 11/13/2016 12:00:00 AM By: Claudio Carvalho
Kathy (Zoe Kazan) is the alcoholic and smoking addicted mother of the young, but mature teenager Lizzy (Ella Ballentine). They live together since Kathy's husband Roy (Scott Speedman) 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 (Aaron Douglas) 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?

"The Monster" is an atmospheric, tense and melancholic low-budget horror movie. The dramatic story is supported by top-notch performances of Ella Ballentine and Zoe Kazan and a beautiful and sad cinematography. Scott Speedman participation is limited to a short cameo only to give his name to the credits. The slow-paced plot helps to create the creepy atmosphere and to show the relationship of Kathy and Lizzy. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

The Monster (IMDB: 6)

On: 11/12/2016 12:00:00 AM By: geraldohanna
As children, we often have irrational fears of things we have not being given a proper introduction to - We are told numerous stories, some still ignoring the lingering question we harbor deep within - Our Monsters Real? - Or an allegory of our very existence? This idea is effectively used in recent films such as, 'The Babadook', 'It Follows', 'The Witch' and 'Under the Shadow'. Director Bryan Bertino ('The Strangers') shares a similar notion of this with 'The Monster'.

Kathy (Zoe Kazan) a divorced alcoholic and inexperienced mother is taking her young and mature of age daughter, Lizzy (Ella Ballentine), to permanently relocate with Lizzy's father. While driving at night through a remote, rain-lashed forest, Kathy crashes into a wolf, which wrecks their car leaving them stranded for help - Waiting for a tow truck and ambulance. From here on, questions are raised - Where did the wolf come from? What was it running from? Where'd it get those deep cuts on its body? Or where did the body disappear too? Strangely these questions are not justifiably asked by Kathy, but by Lizzy.

The only voice of reason!

Ella Ballentine is the standout here - reminiscent of a young Reese Witherspoon. Inquisitive, timid, fearful and courageously carrying the weight of 'The Monster', as she has spent much of her youth taking care of herself - and her mother - Through flashbacks provided. One in particular truly showing her acting chops. Zoe Kazan also great as Kathy tries to maintain her sobriety while navigating and understanding the needs of her daughter - Yes an overused device in Hollywood - But effective still none the less.

Scott Speedman shows us halfway through the movie with little to say or do, perhaps a favor to Bertino, whom he directed in 'The Strangers'.

Cinematographer Julie Kirkwood offers very little to appreciate here - With Bertino not fully utilizing her until the third act - With a beautiful shot of the enclosed woods. The monster itself plays a minor role - As the full look of it seems rather cheap.

Overall 'The Monster' may not hold up well with most allegory horror films, but it will stand on its own merit for Ella Ballentine - As she comes face to face with the monster - Or are understanding of what it means to let go and grow up - Afterall monsters are only what we make of them.

I enjoyed the movie and the acting is top notch (IMDB: 8)

On: 11/12/2016 12:00:00 AM By: othervoice-49461
I recommend it. The whole monster aspect and horror sequences are a little generic - nothing ground breaking- but you get invested in the two leads and the acting is top notch IMO. I cared about their characters which made the movie work. It has some decent jump scares and a nice dark setting. I thought it was well written and works as more than just a horror film. It is a limited theatrical release with a fairly small budget and does a great job creating atmosphere. I know some were disappointed in the moving looking at other reviews but I think maybe they were expecting a more traditional horror movie. I myself found it to be quite tense, if anything from an emotional aspect.

Emotional, well-acted, and atmospheric, but extremely mediocre. (IMDB: 5)

On: 11/12/2016 12:00:00 AM By: Jake Ahpeatone
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.

5/10