DIRECTOR: STEWART SPARKE | WRITER: PAUL BUTLER | STARRING: LYNDSEY CRAINE, MICHAELA LONGDEN, LIZZIE AARYN-STANTON, ANNA DAWSON, ROSE MUIRHEAD | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (UK TBC)
The premise of director Stewart Sparke's Book of Monsters is a simple one: "Sophie's 18th birthday party becomes a bloodbath when six terrifying monsters descend upon her house, intent on devouring the party guests and killing anyone who tries to leave..." It's a standard plot, but the execution of the story is fairly interesting, once one knows the back story.
The Kickstarter for the film allowed those who backed the project to select which monsters would appear in the film, which surprise guest would show up at the party, and what unique weapon would be used at some point in the movie. Following this rubric, one can puzzle out just exactly how a possessed garden gnome comes to be stabbed to death with a vibrator at one point.
It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but with a mysterious, leatherbound book. It's also far more gloriously gory than any of the pick a path paperbacks we can recall reading as a kid. Book of Monsters is an absolute mess - not plotwise, as it's pretty straightforward, but there is viscera, blood, and fluids strewn and sprayed all over the scenes within Sparke's film.
Were that the characters deserving of the gross, though. Everyone in this film is pretty much standard, with the promiscuous girl, the quiet girl, the bitch, the party guy, the nice guy, and so on. It's pretty difficult to remember anyone's name, but that doesn't really matter, because with the exception of Sophie, none of the others peopling Book of Monsters has any sort of backstory. It's just a matter of waiting for the next bloody setpiece.
The effects are good, and the monster designs are legitimate, but it seems that all the work went into making Book of Monsters look interesting. Unfortunately, beneath the surface, it's revealed that the film is nothing but a thin veneer.