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MONSTROUS (2020)

Directed by Bruce Wemple
Written by Anna Shields
Starring Anna Shields, Rachel Finninger, Grant Schumacher, Hannah McKechnie, Catharine Daddario, Peter Stray, Rick Montgomery Jr., Thomas Brazzle & Dylan Grunn as the Bigfoot!

MONSTROUS gets points from me because it attempts to tell a different story rather than go the tried and true route most Bigfoot films go. For that, despite a few faults, I recommend it.

When their friend goes missing on a trip from Michigan to Whitehall, NY, Sylvia and Jamie (Anna Shields and Grant Schumacher) are devastated. It seems many women have gone missing in the Whitehall, NY area and Jamie is convinced that the Sasquatch activity in the area is the cause. When Jamie answers an ad on Facebook to share a ride to go to Whitehall, he plans on trying to figure out what happened to his friend. But when he can’t go due to the ramifications of a bad burrito, he sends Sylvia in his place. This is where Alex (Rachel Finninger) comes in. Alex turns out to be the ride-share and Sylvia feels safe to go on the trip because she’s a woman instead of the guy they were expecting. So Sylvia and Alex take to the road and end up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a very real Bigfoot outside wanting to come in.

I don’t want to get into the details of the twists and turns that occur in MONSTROUS. I’ll just say that the script is an unpredictable one. Much of the film develops the budding relationship between Sylvia and Alex, two women who find themselves attracted to one another as they get to know each other on this trip. While the film begins with a car hitting what looks to be a baby Bigfoot followed by a vicious Bigfoot attack, turns into something much more poignant. Sure it slows the pace down a bit, but having seen way too many movies that star Chad Michael Murray or Lance Henriksen trouncing in the woods to find Bigfoot only to…you guessed it happen upon Bigfoot, I’m happy for the change. We get an interesting story of two strangers coming together…at least for the first 40 or so minutes.

Just because this film develops character in the first half doesn’t mean that there isn’t any action, gore, and Bigfootin’ going on. Unlike many Bigfoot films, there is a reason Bigfoot is attacking this cabin and stalking these girls. The film does a great job of doing some sleight of hand in regard to what is going on and what everyone’s motivations are, including the Bigfoot’s. The attacks are brutal, leaving the actors completely messed up and battered. I also love that they really showcase the size of the Bigfoot as being utterly…well, monstrous in size, standing at least 9 feet tall. While I had some issues with the Bigfoot mask, director Bruce Wemple smartly only shows its face for one brief scene. The rest of the time, it’s just a mass of hair pummeling, stomping, and tearing through anything in its path. By focusing on the size rather than the distinguishing features like hands and face, you don’t run into the issue of it simply looking like a guy in a monkey suit. This is an effective looking Bigfoot because of the sheer weight of the way it is framed in each harrowing scene it is in.

MONSTROUS is one of the better Bigfoot films out there. Having seen way too many bad ones, it is great seeing writers being creative with the beast, actually writing a story around the creature, rather than make it your typical ScyFy snoozer. Filled with a lot of heart and soul, but never forgetting to be character driven, exciting, and downright brutal at times, MONSTROUS is a film that will make fans of Squatchploitation films proud.

Click here for the trailer!!