by Chris Sivertson Monstrous can be described as a crossover genre, with horror icon Christina Ricci at the heart of a slow-burning atmospheric horror tale that ends on a poignant note. There are merits to Monstrous deserves consideration, though some elements of the film, especially in the final third, may fall flat for viewers expecting a heightened dramatic finish.
Monstrous opens with Laura de Ricci, who takes her son Cody (Santino Barnard) to the American suburbs in hopes of a fresh start after an unexplained traumatic event with her ex-husband. From the outset, the film’s color palette stands out and grabs the viewer’s attention: it’s 1950s America, as evidenced by Laura’s preppy wardrobe, pop culture references of the time , whether in the form of songs or television. shows and the immaculate scenographies that adorn Laura’s immediate environment.
However, despite this seemingly perfect aura, something seems horribly wrong, like a deep sense of unease that grips the mind out of the blue.
As the plot develops, it becomes apparent that Laura is running from something from her past, part of which is explained by intrusive phone calls from her ex, who was allegedly abusive towards her and Cody. However, Cody remembers the incidents in a slightly different way: he doesn’t understand why they moved to the suburbs, the reasons for their separation from his father, and why Laura is so overprotective of Cody in any case. On the other hand, Laura struggles to find her place in a predominantly patriarchal society, where she is silently (and sometimes openly) judged for being an independent single mother.
Monstrous is elevated by Ricci performance and is a solid watch despite its flaws.
The creature in Monstrous is the product of an amalgamation of horror tales surrounding the lady of the lake trope, but this overused theme was executed with great skill, especially in the film’s second half. There’s an element of tense anxiety to these sequences, and while it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, the stylistic and rhythmic aspects of the creature sequences definitely work in the film’s favor.
Ricci and Barnard play their respective roles with conviction, but it’s Ricci who makes the film’s disparate elements work, despite a disappointing resolution. Thematically, Monstrous assimilates a wide range of genres, which is an ambitious attempt, but the execution of the same falls a little flat in the end. Nevertheless, Monstrous is an enjoyable watch, especially for fans of Christina Ricci, as it is ultimately a tale of heartbreak, lull in the past, and the dangers associated with holding on too tightly.
Monstrous premiered at Glasgow FrightFest and is available in theaters and on-demand May 13, 2022, courtesy of Screen Media. I highly recommend Monstrous purely for its atmospheric and psychological thriller aspects, so check it out!
What did you think of Christina Ricci’s performance in Monstrous? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.