MONSTERS IN THE CLOSET starts with a crazed mad man named Raymond Castle (Tom Cikoski) sitting and clicking away on a computer while hiding in his basement. He calls for help as a shadowy knife-wielding figure looms in the background, but the bloody man does not cease his typing. The exact outcome of the man stays hidden from the audience, but his daughter Jasmin (Jasmin Flores) arrives to figure out what happened to her father. Supposedly, Raymond’s next batch of short stories could provide the family with a lot of money, so everyone wants to find his newest work. With a little bit of prying, Jasmin discovers a video made by her late father in which he claims his newest stories come to life when read out loud. And as Jasmin starts perusing the first story, the anthology begins. Written and directed by The Snygg Brothers, MONSTERS IN THE CLOSEST gives audiences some low-budget and campy horror.
On a misty night smelling of mold, a group of slow-moving zombies chases after a group of (slightly-less slow) people. We enter into the POV of one of the escaping victims, which makes for some nauseating running scenes, and some even more gut-wrenching eating scenes. Visually, the humor seems heavily influenced by Shaun of the Dead but on a much smaller scale. The Snygg Brothers do well with letting the audience know that they are working with a very low budget. The body parts definitely look like rubbery novelty items, but the struggle between death and not wanting to give up on life makes for an interesting segment with some fun surprises.
However, the humor of the first short does not work well with the second story. The story starts with a young couple buying a house and making the lofty decision to fix it up. A good portion of the clip comes from the two of them awkwardly laughing and getting agitated with each other. What starts as obnoxious couple talk turns into an obnoxious couple argument. The disaster of a house keeps the two busy for almost a year before the cutesy voices and Sisyphean amount of work ruins the couple. No clue why it takes so long, but the line “Till death do us fucking part, bitch” does garner some giggles.
The third segment focuses on a spoiled rich girl who falls for a boy from a much lower class and (despite the pleadings of her daddy) goes on a camping trip with said boy and his equally common friends. Like the previous segments, the directors struggle to make the stories reach an appropriate length, so they took already boring conversation and made them even longer. The conversation between the father and daughter drags on for an unnecessary amount of time while the directors should be focusing on the camping trip. While in the woods, one little death happens, and now the rich girl has to cover her tracks or lose her scholarship. This short does not provide a believable story or gore, but the actress does well with what she was given.
The final installment looks at the spacey but loveable Dr. Frankenstein and his not-so-cheerful wife. The good doctor adores his wife, but the passing of time makes Mrs. Frankenstein feel less and less attractive. What makes her feel even more unappealing occurs when she accidentally dies, and her husband successfully restores her life but not her looks. For the rest of the short, the couple argues because the husband continues to rebuild his wife no matter how many times she offs herself. The premise sounds simple, but the repetitive story actually becomes quite humorous.
The connecting plotline of Jasmin reading through her father’s stories consists mostly of heavy breathing and running, which is fine and the consistent tone which flows from story to story does well to connect the different tales. However, the directors must prefer inane babbling over atmospheric sounds because during each narrative break the video of Raymond talks non-stop. Is the anthology low budget? Very much yes. Is the acting pretty weak? Also, yes. Should you check out MONSTERS IN THE CLOSEST? That’s a big…probably. The stories provide some solid moments and even create a level of nostalgia for the old Tales from the Crypt series or possibly a gorier version of Who’s Afraid of the Dark? If you go in expecting greatness, then prepare yourself to get mad. If you go in looking for camp and silliness, you will be handsomely rewarded.
MONSTERS IN THE CLOSET is now available on Digital and On Demand.