Directed by: Clay Moffatt
Written by: Clay Moffatt
Genre: Adventure / Science fiction
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College roommates, a camera, and a supernatural force that isn't supernatural at all. Here are some thoughts on Clay Moffatt's found footage film, Monster. The first thing you'll notice is that not only is Monster a found footage spectacle, but it's also a micro budget adventure. The story centers on a young woman finding some old footage containing some young dudes experiencing and capturing supernatural occurrences. Pretty standard a plot for this kind of movie and if you enjoy this type of thing, you may find parts of this film entertaining. I enjoy this type of movie to some degree because it's fun to imagine that this could be real. It makes the production aspects a little easier to swallow. But don't get confused. If you're not a fan of this genre you probably won't make it through 10 minutes because this is not only found footage, but micro budget as well.
From the start the producer wishes to shift your attention on what "Monty" actually is. Monty is the force within the film and right away we heard the words Indian burial ground thrown around. It's a sham, but I'll leave the actual reveal to those who decide to watch the film. As my adventure continued, I was introduced to all manner of strange characters. Professionals from both sides of the gambit all with one glaring problem. None of them appeared over 20. I don't have the exact ages but only what I gleaned from watching suffice it to say that agents, NASA scientists, ooga-booga shamen mediums, and all manner in between would have been easier to believe had they not all looked to be around 17. An old adage comes to mind regarding micro budget film. "Write a story that can be achieved in a believable way with what you have." This lack of believability is perhaps the biggest problem with this film.
There's a scene in this title where a promise is made to stop filming random and pointless content. Instead, promising to only focus on what was needed. The very next scene? More random stuff. A good portion of this title is of random things. Normal and useless day to day things that do nothing to keep the pacing steady. It adds pointless length to the film and if a lot of these things were cut out, the "adventure" element may have greatly increased. Why couldn't the character take his own advice?
Micro budget titles also rely a lot on friends becoming the main characters. Sometimes it works out but more often than not, it doesn't. The acting in Monster tends to fall on the OK to bad scale. Plenty of monotone performances and sometimes absurd reactions. One scene features one of the characters Danny being taken to the hospital after being attacked? His friend's reaction was to berate his comrade for using his camera without permission. This isn't a one off reaction; Monster is full of this stuff.
What more can be said? Monster is what it is; a micro budget, found footage title with a bunch of young people playing parts they shouldn't be playing. It's not that this is a bad film, it's just not believable in any way. Being a found footage production, the believability should have been the most important thing. Do you want to have a film about college kids running into something they at first can't explain? No problem, write and cast it in a way I can swallow. Don't include the adult roles at all if you can't get someone to play the part. Monster did have some ideas that worked, including what Monty actually ends up being. It just got a little lost between the random, unneeded shots and the unbelievable elements I've pointed out. Some may argue that this film fits the genre the way it should, and maybe they are right. Personally? I just couldn't get into this film fully at any point and based my opinions on that aspect alone.