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Review: Monstrous – “Gives the cryptid some iconic moments of screentime”

Available on DVD and on-demand from the 11th of August, Monstrous is directed by Bruce Wemple (Lake Artifact) and written by Anna Shields (Girls vs. Boyz) who also stars alongside Rachel Finninger (Divine Harmony & Order), Grant Schumacher (Whelm) and Dylan Grunn (The Retreat).

After their friend Haley goes missing in Adirondack, a small town outside Bigfoot hotspot Whitehall, New York, Sylvia (Shields) and Jamie (Schumacher) launch an investigation to find her or find out what happened to her. They discover that Haley had recently given a ride to Adirondack to a mysterious Craigslist stranger Alex (Finninger), and Sylvia decides to do the same, killing two birds with one stone: investigating Alex while getting out to Adirondack at the same time.

During the rideshare, Sylvia gets too close to Alex and the women are hot and heavy by the time they get to Alex’s remote cabin in Adirondack. Initially blinded by lust, Sylvia slowly realises that there may be more to the suspicious Alex – but she’s in too deep. The truth about her friend’s disappearance and the dark side to her new lover unravel as Jamie heads to the cabin to help and a huge creature from the woods also begins to close in.

I love Bigfoot stuff and have been fascinated by the sneaky sasquatch since coming across him in a book about mysteries like Nessie, spontaneous human combustion, The Bermuda Triangle, and the like at my nan’s house when I was little.

Wemple and Shields’ approach to a Bigfoot movie is certainly unique. Adding some serial killer and Sleeping With the Enemy elements into the mix makes things interesting, but instead of the narrative twists you are expecting, the most obvious things occur – plot beats that you’d dismissed as being so overplayed as to be too obvious.

The writing is at times hard to follow and feels like it has forgotten to give you basic set-up info and Sylvia and Alex’s sex scenes are frequent and long enough to begin to feel amusingly gratuitous. The main plot is just never as interesting as BIGFOOT stuff – which is what we’re all here for – so it’s a little frustrating to be not spending the pages and minutes focussed on the creature.

When there is Biggie action in the first two acts he looks great. Filmed from afar in shadow or silhouette, Wemple does a great job of establishing the creature’s size and physical threat. He also doesn’t show too much, just his fur blowing in the breeze lit from behind by a sunset, or his huge form alongside a human in silhouette reinforcing just how big and scary Squatch is.

The man in the suit, Dylan Grunn, does a great job too, nailing the iconic loping walk combined with the subtle head movements of a predator who is a master of staying hidden, conveying keen senses with subtle head movements. Unfortunately, the finale shows way too much and in broad daylight, and as good as the suit and the actor’s performance is the face is not great.

Still, if you need a squatch fix, Monstrous has some good moments, giving the cryptid some iconic moments of screentime, it’s just the pesky humans that let the side down.

Monstrous is available on DVD and on-demand from the 11th of August.

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