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Monster Party Review

April 25, 2019 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Monster Party
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Monster Party Review  

*Sam Strike as Casper
*Virginia Gardner as Iris
*Brandon Michael Hall as Dodge
*Kian Lawley as Elliot Dawson
*Erin Moriarty as Alexis Dawson
*Robin Tunney as Roxanne Dawson
*Julian McMahon as Patrick Dawson
*Lance Reddick as Milo

Story: Three small-time burglars pose as caterers for a fancy dinner party at an extravagant mansion. But their plan for the perfect heist goes horribly wrong when they discover that the family and their guests are actually a support group of recovering serial killers.

The concept of a horror film with criminals as the main characters is not a new one, and it’s likely an idea that will continue to be used. It makes sense. How quickly can the director get you to side with flawed people? By putting them against even worse people or monsters. It’s an idea that was used in everything from Frontier(s) to From Dusk Till Dawn to even Don’t Breathe have people who are on the wrong side of the law going against some pretty scary monsters or killers.

That’s also the plot going into Monster Party, a movie that tries to take that concept and play with it a little bit, at least as far as the ‘monster’ side of things is concerned. The idea that the three thieves plan to rob a house that happens to be the gathering place of a group of serial killers is a good one. That’s about the worst possible luck you could have, right? And the added twist of them being recovering addicts of serial killing is a clever twist on that.

Here’s the problem with that right off the bat. They don’t nearly do enough with that premise. In fact, the idea of these killers struggling with their addiction is thrown out almost immediately so the film can get to the killing. It’s a plot device meant to get everyone into the room for the story to begin, that’s it. Once they’re there, there’s no reason to have it anymore, and that makes it ultimately pointless. It’s a half-baked idea with no point other than to set up the next kill, and there are less contrived ways of doing that.

The same could be said for just about any interesting detail that is brought up in the movie. A relationship is established, only for one member of the couple to be the first to die. A character is revealed to be pregnant and that point is reiterated later on, only for that character to meet an untimely end. I suppose that point was only there to add pointless shock value. Another character, previously never mentioned or hinted at, is introduced and just as quickly killed off. If you want a mindless slasher, you don’t need all the useless window dressing that turns your movie into a chore. Friday the 13th put a bunch of kids in the woods and sent a masked killer after them. It knew what it was and didn’t pretend to be something different only to bore the viewer.

This movie also has a serious problem with tone. Does it want to be a serious slasher with characters we’re supposed to cheer on? Does it want to be a gory bloodbath? Does it want to a dark comedy about class, a la Brian Yuzna’s Society? It’s hard to tell. There are moments when the protagonists are playing it straight but the villains are hamming it up so much you’d think they were cartoon characters. One villain literally spouts out a non-sequitur and honks a horn for no discernible reason like he’s a dime-store Pennywise. Lance Reddick in particular seems to have stepped off the set of a different movie entirely during his big moment, as do several of the other younger killers.

Of course, this movie isn’t without merit. If you do want a slasher with a lot of blood that you don’t have to think a lot about, you could do worse. It checks all the right boxes for gore-loving horror fiends: limbs lost, guts spill, heads bisected, brains exposed, etc etc. It’s a pretty nasty visual effects reel. But if you’re into that, you’ve seen better and you’ve seen it in better movies. It’s fine in that context but there’s nothing here that’s lasting. It’s just another dumb (really dumb) slasher, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Monster Party had an intriguing premise that it could have played it. It could have had some fun with its idea of killers as recovering addicts but instead it just uses that as a prop to get to the bloodshed. The tone changes at times, plot details are ultimately pointless and the characters are pretty one-dimensional. That’s fine if you just want a dumb bit of violence, but it means the build in getting to that bloodshed is ultimately a waste of time and a chore to get through.

Monster Party will be available exclusively on Shudder starting April 25.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
While it does sport some fun and gory kills, Monster Party lacks in interesting characters and its premise wears out its welcome quickly. On top of that its 'twists' are random and contrived, the acting is occasionally cartoonish and there are abrupt tonal shifts. It works perhaps as a brainless and bloody midnight movie but not as much else.

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Monster Party, Shudder, Joseph Lee