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! :-)