Review: Monstro! / Cert: 18 / Director: Stuart Simpson / Screenplay: Stuart Simpson / Starring: Norman Yemm, Nelli Scarlet, Kyrie Capri, Karli Madden, Kate Watts / Release Date: October 22nd
Beretta, Snowball and Blondie, three murderous “crazy vixens” take refuge amongst a small Australian beachside community and party hard, resisting local advice to stay out of the water. They corrupt seventeen year-old Hanna (Capri) who lives next door with her crippled Granddad (Yemm) and, as they sleep through a drugs and alcohol fuelled hangover, something nasty and tentacled is awoken by their raucous activities and feasting gruesomely on the remaining local fishermen before turning its attention back towards the shore…
Monstro, written and directed by Stuart Simpson, is a stunning and accomplished homage to grindhouse cinema, 1970s independent exploitation movies and good old-fashion B-movie monster flicks. This is ‘creature from beneath the sea’ stuff, its shambolic monster being accomplished purely (and cheaply) by practical effects and buckets of blood and there’s no stinting on the gore and violence - heads and limbs are ripped from bodies, bodies are eviscerated, faces are torn off. It’s all deliciously cheesy and lo-fi and the film just oozes sleaziness as our girls happily dispatch their own victims with throat-slitting glee before indulging in an orgy of booze and drugs and ill-advised midnight dips.
Simpson’s direction is as tight as his script is economic. He effortlessly builds up the tension as we wait for the creature to rise up from the deep and he teases us with shots of tentacles writhing through the water and rising up to claim another hapless victim before giving us what we’ve been waiting for with an all-out attack by the whole creature, complete with gaping maw and gnashing teeth and a desperate battle for survival as Hannah and the remaining hellcats fight against a thrashing, unstoppable, inhuman monster.
Monstro has got cult status written right through it and it’s yet another classy example of how cheap indie cinema is running rings around the Hollywood studio system at the moment. Absolutely labour-of-love stuff from start to finish, this has a verve and energy you just don’t find in your summer tent pole movies and, at seventy-odd minutes, it just gets in, gets on with it, gets the story told and the job done. Irresistibly enjoyable and gloriously tacky, Monstro is unmissable if you’re in the mood for some old school monster mayhem laced with scuzzy, lowlife bloody thrills.
Extras: Short films, behind the scenes, deleted scenes, trailer.