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Home > Monstrous (2022): A Review

Monstrous (2022): A Review


Ethereally Unsettling

This 2022 film stars Christina Ricci as Laura, a survivalist mother, and Santino Barnard as Cody, Laura’s ambivalent son, who is more than he seems. And as Chrest’s second screenplay, Monstrous is a testament to his storytelling abilities. There is no question that a story makes or breaks a film, but it is the framing of that story that ensures its success in transferring from one medium of enjoyment to the big screen. Chris Sivertson, as director, frames Monstrous flawlessly.

The Setting

There is a strong sense of nostalgia in the opening, a throwback to a bygone age. It’s idyllic. The countryside is bucolic and beautiful with bright vivid colors. The beginning of the piece set up the film as a symbolic work in every way, as there is more to everything than meets the eye.


The story is about Laura, a seemingly abused woman. Despite her appearance of calm, Laura has a restless nature that betrays her more peaceful nature. Laura’s journey to a happier destination is accompanied by such dissonance that it opens the senses of the viewer to greater inquiry. It is evident that she is taking matters into her own hands, seeking to outrun the nightmare she has left behind. However, running does not stop the nightmares. In fact, they follow her. As she reaches her destination, she learns of a new horror. Unhinged and desperate, she tries to escape the new monster that threatens her and her son. However, this monster is different.

This story includes ghosts of all kinds, tangible and figurative, and it becomes increasingly evident as time fades and the façade cracks that even Laura’s new ghost connects to the events of her past. In sum, there are moments of intensity undergirded by subtle terrors. The plot is rattling and unnerving. Underneath the beautiful and picturesque portrait, there is something ominous and spooky.


Characters & Acting 

Ricci delivers a spell-bidding performance, making it all come together. As Roger Ebert notes, “Ricci’s compelling performance makes you want to follow Laura as she inevitably falls apart. One thing to note is the falling action. The director slowly reveals one context clue after another until the final reveal. They reveal everything only in the last fifteen minutes. That is when audiences realize what is happening to Laura results from what has happened to her.

Great aspects

The scenery perfectly combines an ethereal aesthetic with nostalgia, and the score works to accentuate the fearful undertones. This film also does an excellent job of evoking a sense of time and place; costumes, props, and atmosphere all combine perfectly. The story is fascinating as well. There are no spoilers right away, so the reader must stay engaged. Symbolism and foreshadowing are also excellently employed.

Less Brilliant Aspects

The story is drawn out. Clearly, things are happening, but the revelation is delayed. However, 30 minutes into the film, the monster is introduced. While it is interesting, it is not as frightening as one might expect. The concept design is somewhat lacking in originality. However, the film’s overall quality remains unaffected by the lesser aspects.


Final Rating 

Monstrous is a fresh story but contains elements from other films such as The Lady in The Water, Swamp Thing, and The Sixth Sense. But although it draws comparisons, it is certainly not like these films. Monstrous is a solid work that is worth giving one watch. While it is undoubtedly not the horror movie of the year or decade, it’s entertaining and works. For those who have not seen Monstrous, it is currently streaming on Paramount+.

Monstrous (2022) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Renae M. Richardson
I am a writing enthusiast and Entertainment journalist. I live life with unbridled passion. And I live by the mantra love what you do, and do what you love!