Sunday, October 16, 2022

#2,839. Monstrous (2020)


I went into 2020’s Monstrous expecting a low-budget Bigfoot film. That’s what the poster art promised, anyway. But what I got was something else entirely, and to be honest I kinda dug it.

Hoping to unravel the mystery surrounding her friend Dana’s disappearance, Sylvia (Anna Shields, who also penned the screenplay) answers an online ad posted by Alex (Rachel Finninger), who is looking for someone to drive her to Whitehall, N.Y. (Alex, it turns out, was with Dana the day she vanished).

Dana’s boyfriend Jamie (Grant Schumacher) is convinced Dana may have fallen victim to the elusive Bigfoot, which has been spotted several times in the area. Sylvia scoffs at Jamie’s theory, only to discover there is, indeed, a monster waiting for her once she and Alex reach their destination.

In the DVD commentary for Monstrous, star / writer Anna Shields mentioned that her initial script was for a romantic thriller, and Bigfoot was nowhere to be found. It was director Bruce Wemple who recommended she throw the big guy in there, and while the infamous Sasquatch (played by Dylan Grunn) doesn’t appear very often, he makes the best of what little screen time he gets (there’s an especially tense scene set inside a cabin).

Still, Monstrous is not so much a creature feature as it is a tense thriller with an LGBTQ-friendly romantic twist (Sylvia and Alex fall for each other, and the film features a handful of well-executed love scenes). Shields and Finninger are solid as the lovers who don’t entirely trust one another (Sylvia suspects that Alex may know more than she’s letting on about Dana’s disappearance), and the story takes a few dark turns (Sylvia has several flashbacks to an earlier event, where she allowed her young sister to burn to death).

The film does get a little frustrating in the final act (there are two or three false endings), but the last 10 minutes more than makes up for it, with action and blood aplenty. Monstrous may ultimately disappoint Bigfoot aficionados, but everyone else should give it a chance.
Rating: 7 out of 10

No comments: