Review: Monstrous (2020)
One of this year’s pleasant surprises was Bruce Wemple’s Lake Artifact. So I was quite happy to see not only did he have another film coming out, it was a Bigfoot film, Monstrous. Written by one of his regular actresses, Anna Shields, it promised to be an interesting change of pace for Sasquatch cinema. And that’s something it could badly use.
Two women driving down a remote stretch of road late at night hit something. Something that looks humanoid and furry. A much bigger furry something sees this, and it does not end well for one of the women.
Jamie (Grant Schumacher) is a Bigfoot enthusiast. He and his friend Sylvia (Anna Shields, Little Bi Peep, The Executioners) were also friends with Haley (Catharine Daddario, the younger sister of Alexandra), the woman from the prologue. It seems she’s only one of several to disappear in the area recently. It also seems that Alex (Rachel Finninger) the woman she was with is looking for a ride to the same area again. Sylvia makes the trip to try to find out what happened to her friend. But as the trip progresses, a relationship starts to develop between the two. Which could be dangerous for all concerned because very little is what it appears to be.
As much as it is a monster movie, Monstrous is also a thriller. Jamie and Sylvia suspect Alex may be a serial killer. The viewer however saw what happened to Haley, but is left with the question of why Alex wants to return to the scene of the attack. The creature itself is largely absent, apart from one memorable scene, in the second act. But a lot of interesting things are going on.
Some viewers may feel cheated by that. I found that taking the plot away from the “wander through the woods and die” formula kept Monstrous fresh. It also adds other elements to the script which come together to make the final act an exceptionally tense one with multiple threats to be dealt with.
Sasquatch itself is played by actor/stilt walker Dylan Grunn and looks absolutely huge and imposing. The suit is well-designed and stands up well when you finally get a good look at it. There’s not a lot of gore in Monstrous, but what we see is well done and looks mostly practical.
Overall, I was impressed with Monstrous and how it handled Sasquatch. This isn’t your usual monster movie and the creature isn’t the usual dumb, violent, killing machine. I was also impressed with Shield’s script, which is an intelligently done piece centred around two LGBTQ women. Wemple’s next film The Retreat is already completed and deals with The Wendigo. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with that legendary creature.
Uncork’d will release Monstrous On Demand and DVD August 11th.