Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 28/08/2021
ARE WE MONSTERS [FrightFest 2021]
Werewolves are real, and lycanthrope hunter Michael (Justin Hayward) passes down the last ever silver bullet to his son, Everett (John Black). When his father is killed on a hunt, Everett and his friend Connor (Stefan Chanyaem) must continue the fight, but as the only generation of hunters without the one thing that can kill the beast. They team up with troubled shapeshifter Maya (Charlotte Olivia), who’s looking to discover her place in the world following her mother’s disappearance. Maya’s friend Luke (Jathis Sivanesan) is a folklore blogger helping her on her quest and Everett and Connor are keen to learn how to deal with their hunt without their most potent tool.
Directed and co-written (alongside John Black) by Seb Cox, Are We Monsters is an interesting feature. Playing more as a coming-of-age tale than a horror film, it’s a dialogue-heavy movie that manages to hold the interest throughout. The woodland location adds an authentic feel and oozes atmosphere.
Are We Monsters is a very different entry into the werewolf genre and boldly, it features a unique creature design, something more nightmarish than anything we’ve seen before. A blend of folk tale inspirations, both classical and urban, it’s a memorable design that is seriously creepy. The CGI effects are impressive enough for a low-budget indie production so that it’s not let down in that aspect. There are also some nice animated sequences, which add an extra layer to the narrative and enhance the folk horror angle, while also saving the budget that elaborate creations would cost.
The cast excels with the lengthy dialogue and there are few humorous moments to lighten the mood, but it can get heavy going as it goes along. Using werewolves as a metaphor for growing up isn’t something new, but Are We Monsters does a decent job of portraying a young woman in turmoil. It even provides a whole new mythology to the Lycan curse.