IR Film Review: MONSTRUM [Shudder]

The aspect of reluctant heroes is always painted on the path of a journey but also the reasoning behind it. Mixing elements of traditional and genre is always tricky especially doing within a period element. But with Asian cinema, pre-pandemic, understanding more the intersection of global tastes, “Monstrum” takes that into effect. But the reality is that South Korea has been ahead of the curve in this way for years, especially in horror and certain action offshoots including gangster. “Monstrum” also does its best in certain aspects to interrelate comedy. The story begins with two former generals and a young daughter trying to survive on the edge of barren fields. They enjoy their life for its simplicity but the daughter wants something more. One finds that they used to serve the king but was taken away when the father saves a girl (the daughter) instead of slaughtering her. The idea provides stakes but also a moral basis within the story. Running in the background of much of it is a political struggle. While not inherently dense or particular about what is being fought over, the aspect of grief is interrelated between both an ongoing plague (very pertinent right now) and stories of a monster rampaging.

The effective aspect of the story is trying and, in many times showing, that it could be one or the other. Eventually the general and his brother are brought back in at the request of the King (who has been manipulated by his prime minter and his minions) to find out the real truth. What is interesting even though it is set in 1506, is to bring in the daughter as a sort of investigator, even within the gender confines at the time while also giving her some progression of a traditional love story to satisfy perhaps more conservative audiences. The eventual discovery of a creature (which this reviewer won’t give away too much about) has interesting interrelations to many genre films including “The Dark Crystal”. The mythology of the beast is a little slight but in terms of simple entertainment works adequately. The comedy which is subtle (more in the form of the brother) gives the film a light touch which definitely makes it overall much more palpable especially when the action gets a little more performance oriented and less story based as the melee of sorts begins though its epilogue definitely understands this. “Monstrum” is an effective hybrid while understanding it nature and budgets ad uses it its avail.


By Tim Wassberg

Posted on May 14, 2020, in Film Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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