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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Review: Making Monsters

Director: Justin Harding and Rob Brunner

Screenplay: Justin Harding

Year: 2021

Chris is a Youtube content creator whose channel has become popular because of its pranks on his fiance. A friend invites them to spend a weekend with him and his husband in their new country house. What should have been a quiet and fun weekend turns into a nightmare when they realize that a sadistic killer is watching them.

In the first act, we get to know Chris (Tim Loden) and his fiance Allison (Alana Elmer), and we see the dynamic among them. Chirs has a Youtube channel where his videos consist of scaring his fiance, which, together with his self-centered personality, makes us dislike who, up to this point, seems to the star of the movie and to care more about Allison. However, the directors Justin Harding and Rob Brunner, in their debut full-length movie, gradually and subtlety shift the attention from Chris to Allison, and the couple dynamics they have and how Chris’ personality is portrayed leave us with a solid protagonist that we care about.

Once the couple makes it to their friend’s house to spend a few days, things start turning strange. At their arrival, they are greeted by his friend’s husband, David, who lets them know that his partner will not be at the house until the next day, and Chris and Allison find themselves in a remote place, sharing the place with a stranger. I forgot to mention that the house is an old church that was transformed into a house, that his friend is a special effect makeup artist, has the place filled with macabre figures, and that Allison starts seeing paranormal stuff. None of them give this much thought and end up sharing a fun party night. 

Things take an altogether sinister turn when Chris and Allison wake up after the party, and things don’t fit in, like their phones, car, and David itself being gone. Harding’s script offers a logical development and a constant tension build-up that pays dividends in the third act, revealing what is really happening and where the movie goes towards a slasher hunter-and-prey style rather than a paranormal or thriller one. The characters usually make the logical decisions that support their personalities above wanting to take the story forcefully towards a pre-defined path. The only thing that feels out of place is the paranormal aspect, which holds little relationship with the main plot, and that seems to be there just for the jump scares. 

The special effects are the jewel in the crown, all of them through practical products made by Johnatan Craig, who, besides being the special effects makeup artist, does a great job in his interpretation of David. There is a good amount of space between the opening scene and the next scene where the special effects stand out, and it is in this first scene where we see the violence that the killer is capable of, but it doesn’t give clues about the great special effects that await. This allows that the special effects and gore take the viewer completely by surprise when they come and they are much more effective. 

“Making Monsters” is one of the few movies that have managed to surprise me in a good way. I have to admit that initially, I had low expectations for it, but its great acting and well-developed script won my attention early on and rewarded me with many unexpected situations and a crazy third act. Besides the aforementioned, the special effects are spectacular, and the killer looks great, wearing a mask that by itself lets you know that it holds no good deeds. The only thing that’s left is to see this director’s following projects, whose debut has left us wanting more.

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