‘Monstrous’ (2022) Review: A Single Mother Caught Between Grim Reality And A Sinister Entity
Chris Siverton’s Monstrous is a supernatural thriller that follows the life of a troubled mother and her young son in the 1950’s as they struggle to hide from their previous life and start a new one. Christina Ricci, known for playing unique and bizarre roles, plays Laura by adding a layer of protectiveness and mystery.
After fleeing her abusive husband, Laura hopes to settle in a new town with her son Cody (Santino Bernard). Though they move into a rented house by a scenic lake, Cody is notably upset by the change. She tries to get back into a normal routine and gets her son admitted to the new school but however, Cody makes no effort to fit in. Things start to get creepier when Cody sees a creature from the lake from his window one night. This creature begins to invade Laura’s home and as she grows more paranoid over its presence, the demon-like monster possesses Cody and he begins to develop powers that are beyond their imagination. Although Laura tries to hold her life together, there is something strange happening underneath this world she has set up for herself and her son. Ultimately, only time will tell how long this will collapse under her eyes.
In his direction, Siverton spends a lot of time building the relationship between Laura and Cody. Their struggles and hope for a new life is rooted in how desperate Laura wants to escape from her husband’s abuse. One of the many supernatural elements includes Laura’s phone, which rings in the middle of the night. Repeatedly, she asks him not to call him back. In some scenes, Laura doesn’t pick up on the phone, knowing that her husband is the one calling them. This element is scary and builds tension within the story of the horrors that is yet to come.
Ricci brings great emotional value to her performance. She shows a serious side to her portrayal of a young mother, and whether she deals with her son’s temper, her annoying landlords, or providing a great monologue while ranting to her boss about her life as a single mother, it is a joy to watch her performance. She provides a solid performance, but considering the insignificance of the film, the kind of impact that was promised in the movie is nowhere to be found. But the overall direction of the film gets lost in the ideas’ unoriginality and predictability of the plot. It is an unremarkable horror film that only saves itself from Ricci’s performance.
Monstrous loses its way in the second act and doesn’t bother to pick itself up again until the story comes to an end as Siverton chooses to focus on the central characters more than the monster. But perhaps that’s not a terrible thing, because the twist at the end reveals why it haunts Laura and Cody. This is a haunting tale that focuses on the sad desperation of a young mother trying to hide from evil people in her life. However, the movie is dull, and the twist may shock some viewers, while others might have figured it out halfway through the film.
Edited by: Raayaa Imthiyaz