BOOK OF MONSTERS (2018)
Directed by Stewart Sparke
Written by Paul Butler
Starring Lyndsey Craine, Michaela Longden, Lizzie Aaryn-Stanton, Anna Dawson, Rose Muirhead, Steph Mossman, Nicholas Vince, Daniel Thrace, Arron Dennis, Julian Alexander, Jessica Fay, Dave Jameson, Samantha Mesagno, Julia Munder, Johnny Vivash, Mark Wilkins
Find out more about this film here and @bookofmonstersmovie
Every now and then, a film comes along that has that kind of moxie that is reminiscent of the tighten your belt and get things done attitude that makes Raimi’s original EVIL DEAD such a classic. It’s funny that the same people that poo poo new low budget horror will praise EVIL DEAD. EVIL DEAD had bad acting, low production values, and DIY effects. Still it garners accolades, but a film comes along like BOOK OF MONSTERS and people will rip on it for it’s shortcomings instead of recognize it for what it does really, really well.
Linsey Craine plays Sophie, who lost her mother at a young age, but remembers the nights she spent with her reading scary stories from an ancient book. This “Book of Monsters” left a mark on Sophie, who to this day is haunted by the passages. On her 18th birthday, Sophie and her friends decide to have a birthday party, but what they don’t know is that evil forces are approaching and they are able to make the monsters in Sophie’s storybook come to life. AS the party rages on inside the home, monsters of all shapes and sizes lurk outside and it seems that Sophie, with the help of her plucky friends Mona (Michaela Longden), Jess (Rose Muirhead) and Beth (Lizzie Aaryn-Stanton), are the only ones who can defeat this cadre of monsters.
Occasional acting flub, convenient writing cliché, and seams in the monsters practical effects aside, this is one hell of a monster movie. Sure there will be those who might find issue with some of the effects as they are pretty low fi, but paired with the way the film is edited and the ingenuity of the complex monster suits, these monsters look pretty damn good. They are original and gnarly looking monsters and they look damn nightmarish. Anyone with an appreciation for the days when practical effects were kind will have a blast with this creature feature. It’s also gory as all get out with chainsaw wielding teens and blood spattered in every direction. Again, a callback to the days when horror meant that no one gets out without a thick coat of sticky blood.
The story is familiar. The party atmosphere made me think of the story structure (specifically the final act) of WEIRD SCIENCE and the teenage antics evoke that same kind of John Hughes feel that matches the same era of the practicality of the effects. There’s teen angst, longing for love, and quests for acceptance. It’s all just covered in blood and monster parts. Plus Craine, Longden, Stanton, and Muirhead are extremely likable and fun to follow down this monstrous path. I have to admit, the accents of the cast are pretty thick, but it helped having the closed captioning on. BOOK OF MONSTERS is one hell of a creature feature. As long as you don’t go into this one expecting a polished Hollywood horror, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at this one.