DVD REVIEW: NINJAS VS. MONSTERS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JUSTIN TIMPANE / SCREENPLAY: JUSTIN TIMPANE / STARRING: DANIEL ROSS, CORY OKOUCHI, JAY SAUNDERS, DEVON BROOKSHIRE / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 26TH
The '90s have a lot to answer for. In addition to giving us Pogs, digital pets and Vanilla Ice, it also gave a rather odd sub-genre of horror in which a team of quirky misfits goes against supernatural horrors. This trend, which was popularised via various cheesy tabletop roleplaying games and made mainstream by Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still with us today and has become a trope in cult media. Ninjas vs. Monsters carries on the fine tradition of wisecracking geeks getting super powers and beating up monsters.
The story may be a little bit confusing to those who haven’t seen the previous two Ninjas Vs movies, but it’s not that complicated and besides, there’s a handy recap at the start of the movie just in case. The plot is quite straightforward; Dracula, the Wolfman and chums have come to the conclusion that people are no longer scared of them. Mostly they blame Twilight for this, but rather than going round to Stephanie Meyer’s house to extract their revenge, they instead hatch a plan that involves murdering a team of unlikely nobodies who spend their evenings beating up vampires, zombies and the like.
They are many unanswered questions; why does Frankenstein have lightning powers and arm mounted blades? (Pedants who are itching to jump in at this point, by the way, are wrong.) Why is the mummy in a Halloween costume? Why is one of the generic monsters Neo from The Matrix in Cenobite drag? Who cares! It’s not that sort of movie. Invite your friends round to watch, order pizza, turn your brain off and have a junk food day with this film.
Writer/director/actor Justin Timpane has clearly put his heart and soul into this movie, and has tried to do an awful lot with very little. The budget really shows, and this feature isn’t going to win any prizes for its writing, direction or acting. That said, the sheer energy behind it all is present in every scene and the sense of geeky joy that has caused this movie to exist bleeds into every part of the production. It’s monster fun, in every sense of the word. Just don’t look too hard at the special effects.