I have been obsessed and terrified of Bigfoot my entire life. As a kid in the seventies, I grew up during what I would categorize as the heyday of Sasquatch, inundated with sightings, movies, and magazines. I devoured all of the information that I could through those sensationalized representations of true-life encounters. There was something so absolutely terrifying to me that a creature (or creatures) like that could still be hiding within the woods. I still get unnerved watching the episode of In Search Of… and nothing comes close to watching the infamous Patterson film from 1967.
Unfortunately, I am consistently disappointed and have never seen any film come near that level of mystery and dread, except for Eduardo Sanchez‘s Exists. Even though I have been discouraged time and time again by the countless attempts, I also get delighted whenever I see a new Bigfoot film is coming out. It is the same with Sharks. I watch them all, and I want them to work. I want to relive that horror that I experienced so many years ago. So, I was excited by the trailer for MONSTROUS and the one image that sent a shiver down my spine, seeing the large creature backlit by a fiery red light.
MONSTROUS is two films in one. Half of the film is a well-directed Bigfoot film. It sets up a mystery, scares, and stunning visuals that also stay with you. The other half of the film is a solid psychological thriller.
At first viewing, I was confused, surprised, and slightly angered that Bigfoot took a dark detour about 25 minutes in and landed at the doorstep of what began to play out as a character-driven piece. But then, it was so compelling, well-acted, and scary on its own merit that I almost forgot I was watching a “Squatch” film. The surprise is smart and unexpected.
I do not want to ruin any of the surprises, but Bigfoot does come back, and the resolution to both tales is satisfying.
Writer and star Anna Shields created a solid film that delivers on its title. Supporting the story are performances by Rachel Finninger, Grant Schumacher, Hannah McKechnie, and Catharine Daddario. The cinematography and production design produce a polished look and feel well above its budget. Director Bruce Wemple creates tension and dread throughout while delivering some truly disturbing imagery.
I absolutely suggest taking a trip to the woods. MONSTROUS arrives On Demand and DVD August 11, 2020.
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