Gimmfest 2020 Review: MONSTROUS

4 out of 5 stars

Monstrous is a film which straddles multiple genres. Ostensibly a horror movie, it’s a credit to director Bruce Wemple and writer (and star) Anna Shields that it also works as a thriller and a romantic drama. There have been dozens of Bigfoot-themed movies over the years, but none have been as surprisingly original as Monstrous

Shields is Sylvia, a young woman eager to discover what happened to her friend who went missing after giving a stranger a lift to Whitehall, a remote town famed for its Bigfoot sightings. After posting on Craigslist, Sylvia offers to drive Alex (Rachel Finninger) to the town and while she’s uncertain of her at first, the pair form a close bond and soon sparks fly. Does Alex know about her missing friend and is Bigfoot involved? Monstrous is a film which works best when you know every little about it, so you’ve got to watch it to see how this puzzle fits together. 

The plot to Monstrous might sound wild, but the film works and it manages to form a cohesive whole from its disparate parts. The scenes were Sylvia and Alex form a bond ring true and the performances from Shields and Finninger never feel forced – there’s a natural air to both actors. As the film evolves, so does their relationship and it constantly shifts as the pair learn more about each other. It’s well a constructed film and Wemple directs with restraint,  constantly playing with audience exceptions and genre rules. 

A true gem of a movie, Monstrous is quirky, scary and tense. In lesser hands  it could have been a mess, but what we have here is one of the biggest movie surprises of the year!