The Monster (2016) Horror Movie Review


“The Monster” is a gripping horror film that delves deep into the psychological terror of a broken maternal bond, set against the backdrop of a nightmarish encounter. Directed by Bryan Bertino, the film presents a harrowing journey of a mother and daughter, Kathy and Lizzy, portrayed by Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine, respectively, as they face a literal and metaphorical monster.

The narrative unfolds with Kathy, an addict struggling with her role as a mother, and her daughter Lizzy, who is embroiled in the turmoil of her mother’s destructive habits. The tension between them is palpable, reflecting a relationship marred by addiction and neglect. Their strained bond is tested further when a road trip to reunite Lizzy with her father takes a terrifying turn. A collision with a wolf on a desolate road leaves them stranded, only to realize that a more sinister presence lurks in the woods.

Bertino’s direction is commendable, as he skillfully intertwines the real-life horrors of addiction with the supernatural. The monster, a grotesque creature that seems to embody Kathy’s addiction, serves as a constant reminder of the internal demons she must confront. The film’s atmosphere is heavy with dread, amplified by the claustrophobic setting of the broken-down car and the relentless downpour that traps the protagonists in a seemingly hopeless situation.

Zoe Kazan delivers a powerful performance as Kathy, capturing the complexity of a flawed character grappling with her inadequacies and the overwhelming desire to protect her child. Ella Ballentine’s portrayal of Lizzy is equally compelling, as she navigates her fear and resentment towards her mother while facing the terror of the unknown.

The film’s horror elements are executed with a subtlety that eschews jump scares for a more profound sense of fear. The monster itself is a terrifying creation, a blend of physical horror and symbolic representation of the characters’ inner demons. The cinematography and sound design work in tandem to create an immersive experience that keeps the audience on edge.

Critics have praised “The Monster” for its effective simplicity and Kazan’s standout performance, noting its traditional yet subversive approach to the horror genre. The film has been recognized for its ability to not only scare but also move the audience with its underlying themes of love, redemption, and the human capacity to face down the monsters within.

In the Nutshell

“The Monster” is a thought-provoking film that transcends the boundaries of its genre. It is a testament to the power of storytelling that can evoke empathy and introspection through the lens of horror. For those seeking a film that offers more than just scares, “The Monster” is a must-watch, a haunting reminder of the real-world monsters we all must confront. 4 out of 5 stars.

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Genre: Monster horror

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