From an opening sequence that invokes our fears of the monster under the bed, Book of Monsters serves notice that it intends to be an old school creature feature. And the second feature from writer Paul Butler and director Stewart Sparke, (they previously collaborated on The Creature Below), is just that. Mixing high school students, ancient tomes, birthday parties
Sophie (Lyndsey Craine) is about to turn eighteen. Of course there’s a party involved, and being as it involves high school kids, drama from the “mean girls” comes with it. But since this is a film called Book Of Monsters that’s going to be the least of her problems.
The slinky redhead that nobody recognizes has snuck upstairs with the group virgin, something that’s never a good sign. One ritual sacrifice later the party goers are caught in the midst of a supernatural bloodbath. Sophie is going to have to face up to her heritage if anyone is going to survive.
Sophie’s monster killing destiny is pretty much given away in the opening sequence. So it follows that it’ll be up to her and the girls, best friends Beth (Lizzie Stanton) and Mona (Michaela Longden) and potential lover Jess (Rose Muirhead) to defeat the creatures.
And there are creatures a plenty here. Shape-shifters, nasty looking beasts, even animated garden gnomes. The gnomes I should mention, allow for a great homage to Gremlins. I’ll leave the other references for you to find for yourself.
There’s no CGI here either, the creatures, like the gory messes they create, are done with old school methods. And there is plenty of gore. Heads are ripped off, bodies torn open, even torn in half. It’s like The Evil Dead or Dead Alive but with monsters rather than zombies.
Like those films, Book Of Monsters knows not to take itself to seriously. It never becomes a full on comedy, but there’s plenty of grim chuckles to be found among the over the top carnage. The one involving a German exchange student and subtitles is particularly inspired.
There’s even a touching moment when Sophie finds a message from her late mother. More importantly, she finds her mother’s chainsaw. “It’s my party. Let’s kill some fucking monsters!” Book Of Monsters is one time where I’m happy to see the end set up for a sequel or even a franchise. We’re overdue for a new Buffy.
Epic Pictures will release Book Of Monsters via its Dread label on March 19th.