There is a Monster movie poster

There is a Monster

In theaters January 30, 2024

Rated

82 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: ,

Billed as a horror movie, There is a Monster (2024) is part ghost story, part body horror, and an homage to ways a body can betray you without warning.

Written and directed by Mike Taylor, There is a Monster tells the story of Jack (Joey Collins), a studio photographer who appears to be finally making headway in his career. With corporate portraits as his bread and butter, Jack gets the inside track on some larger modeling work and sees his star rising in the industry. At home, things aren’t so great as he and his wife, Carol (Ena O’Rourke) live largely separate lives under the same roof. When things get squirrelly for Jack, he drinks, but it’s part of a deeper problem of trust. Whatever he did, she’s perfectly willing to make him pay for it but not completely willing to divorce.

As the stars align in Jack’s sky, he begins to see a figure out of the corner of his eye. He dreams of it hovering over him and suffers paralysis where he imagines it touching him. No one else can see it and his doctors are stumped. His friends think he’s losing his mind and work begins to lag. If Jack doesn’t find out what’s tormenting him, he could lose everything.

There is a Monster is as simple a film as you can get. There is no flashy CGI and the effects are basic and practical. This isn’t a bad thing, as it allows the story and characters to be the focus. The downside to is when folks are expecting a horror movie, there should be more than a few jump scares and shadowy figures in corners. The low-budget feel of There is a Monster didn’t work against it, but you might want to dial down expectations. Call this a Core Horror film, an Intro to Horror, if you will, where the focus is drama with a sprinkling of dread. It’s not going to keep you up nights.

Every actor plays their part with sincere earnest, Joey Collins plays a man working his way back to even with an honest job and co-workers who want to see him succeed. Collins’ everyman with a chance at success is refreshing as he’s played straight with sympathy, especially as he deteriorates. Ena O’Rourke as his long-suffering wife Carol, brings a detached devotion to her role, really pushing “I’m mad at you but I love you” right to the surface. These two had a chemistry that made the underlying tragedy more heartfelt. I like well-acted small-budget films.

There is a Monster could have gone in a number of outrageous directions, but it would have taken away from the low current pull of betrayal of one’s own body and cheapened the singular horror of being locked in. It’s an effective film with solid direction, showing that horror and terror are the things that drive your fear, no matter what it is.

There is a Monster (2024) is unrated but call it PG for swears, mild body horror, some suggestive material, and the creepy shadow that lurks just outside of your vision.

There is a Monster is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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