“Amidst a bloody backdrop of chaos and carnage, one panicked, lowly survivor of the Monster Apocalypse takes shelter in a movie theater to buy himself a few extra moments of precious life. Little does he know, he’s taken a flying leap out of the frying pan and smack dab into the firest of hell by attending the last movie marathon he’ll ever see. Welcome to Monsterland! A terrifying place where savage beasts, carnivorous creatures and grotesque abominations are the new normal, and the human race is now at the bottom of the food chain.”
When I first heard about the horror movie, “Monsterland” I was thrilled! How could I not be? An anthology based off of monsters taking over the world was something that was right up my alley. It featured directors that I enjoy such as Graham Denman, Andrew Kasch, and John Skipp and is produced by Dread Central and Ruthless Pictures. As the film started, my excitement went up, but as each minute ticked by I started to realize that this was not the film I thought it was going to be, and by the end I was left confused and disappointed.
Before I continue on, I want to address something. To some it may be easy to rip a film apart, especially if you don’t know anyone associated with the film. To others, like myself, it’s always difficult when having to write an honest review. I’ve come to know some of these directors and I have a lot of respect for them. I may not do what they do, but I understand what it's like to put yourself out there for the world to judge. With that said, regardless of if I like the film or not, if you are interested in this film then make sure you check it out.
“Monsterland” was not a film for me; however, with most anthologies, you can usually find something that appeals to you. Luckily, there were two shorts that I enjoyed and that I thought stood out from the rest of the crowd. They were “The Grey Matter” from director Frank Henenlotter and “Hag” from director Eric Gardner. What I like most about The Grey Matter and Hag was the cohesive stories, attention to detail, and practical effects and the stories were simple in nature - The Grey Matter centers around a guy who awakens to a head injury and a new friend, a talkative worm that is residing within his wound and Hag which centers around a married couple and the concerns that the husband has for his wife as she becomes possessed by a malevolent spirit.
One thing that I really enjoyed about “Monsterland” was the use of practical effects throughout the majority of the film. We are so riddled with over-the-top and ridiculous looking CGI that when we are presented with a film that actually makes an effort to use practical effects it’s a breath of fresh air. What I thought lacked the most in the film was cohesiveness. Some of the shorts had beginning credits, some just had end credits, and most had none at all. Other than there being some type of monster in each of the shorts, there was nothing that tied each one together which resulted in a bit of a confusing mess. However, I do think the directors and writers were on to something by attempting to make a monster anthology and had they had more time and resources I really think “Monsterland” could have been something special.
In conclusion, this was a hard film to review. I could see the passion that went into each short and I understood the time, effort, and work that goes into such a production. Upon further research of “Monsterland” I found out that this film was actually a contest being held by Dread Central to make a monster anthology. Some of these shorts were from 2012-2014 which may account for why there seems to not be much cohesiveness. Had I know that going in, I think I may have viewed this film differently. Overall, there are some positive moments and I truly believe that each person will find something they can enjoy about the film.
MONSTERLAND will be available on DVD and Digital June 7