Directed by Chris Von Hoffman
Filmed in 17 days
Released November 2018
I’ve said it before and I think it bears repeating – the Wal-Mart discount bin of DVDs is a fickle mistress. Sometimes you have to send countless 4am “u up?” Texts and sometimes you’re blindsided at work with tits and spread beaver and find yourself hunched over at your desk with painful feelings in your no-no spot.
“Robin,” you might be thinking to yourself, “what on Earth does this have to do with Monster Party?”
Well, I shall tell you, my good precious angel mouses. As is the custom here in the graveyard – I find myself sifting through garbage in the discount binds of ye olde Wal Fart as a reward for completing the very adult task of purchasing my own groceries and not having the police called when I punch out whatever random asshole mouths me off for taking too long while picking out light bulbs and cat food.
As I was undertaking my weekly film archaeology dig through the bin, I came across Monster Party. Maybe I was high on having found a copy of Assassination Nation and maybe it was the yummy snacks I’d bought for later calling to me, but I was tempted by the cover of Monster Party. It looked slick and interesting and I was feeling generous. Dropping $14 on a movie I haven’t seen is usually a risk I don’t often risk. But with a pay check burning holes in my pocket and my usually dead husk of a soul exhaling rare optimism, I saw that Robin Tunney who played Sarah in teen witch staple film The Craft was one of the stars and I was sold.
I think I set myself up for some disappointment with this film, however. I watched Monster Party after Assassination Nation and like ordering dinner after dessert, this was a grave mistake.
I wanted to feel the same way about Monster Party that I did about Assassination Nation and in some ways, I did. The cinematography was slick, the director’s panache for colour showed through, and like with anything else – the sound was audible.
I shouldn’t have to chuck out points to films for doing the bare fucking minimum in terms of sound, but apparently sound is a problem as it tends to come up in a lot of indie features, so this statement is of important note to me now, whenever I criticize films.
The basic premise is that a gang of HOT YOUNG TEENS who are clearly in their mid to late 20s are trying to get together enough money to get their asses out of dodge by doing a series of elaborate break in and enter jobs to rich people’s homes.
These jobs involve the young female who is pregnant playing decoy out front of a prospective home, while wingus and dingus drill out doorknobs and crack the locks on safes to retrieve Italian Job sequel sums of money – $234 USD split three ways.
What a heist!
$78 can buy a lot of sweet fuck all, but yeah the one dude’s dad is a gambler and since the local gang wants to break his knee caps and cut off his fingers Yakuza style, any money is good money.
The white male lead ends up finding his dad at a strip club about to get his fingers broke off and possibly be strangled in a room full of strippers with bad boob jobs (frankly, there are much worse ways to die), and he’s all – ” hey psychotic gang leader, me, a HOT YOUNG TEEN shall surely settle my father’s gambling debt in a matter of hours with nothing more than my discount Peeta Mellark looks” and the gang leader is all, “sounds legit”.
So buddy enlists his 18 and pregnant crew to do a heist at a rich person’s house where they will pose as Ask Jeeves – esque butlers and in between serving hors d’oueveres and champagne in those pretentious flutes, they will scout around the McMansion for goods and cash.
Pretty well upon arrival they find out that the family who owns the mansion is comprised of barely contained psychotics. Mom is played by a high strung Robin Tunney who looks fucking great for her age let me say. Can she just be in more things because I want to just look at her more often and since I’m not allowed near her house anymore, please someone help.
Seriously though, Robin Tunney is a babe.
So aside from being a strange vaguely sinister party, this seems like standard rich person stuff and the trio of hapless fools farts around cutting up carrots and making cheese and crackers and shit, while being verbally abused by the party guests.
Again, standard rich person stuff tbh.
Can I also say that the brother Elliot played by Kian Lawley looks like the dude from that Swedish band The Knife that we all thought we were super cool for listening to years ago?
Just me? Ever see Kian Lawley and the dude from The Knife in the same room? Could it be coincidence? Could it be that one lives in Sweden? You be the judge.
Anywho this family reveals themselves to be a group of serial killers and their party is like serial killer AA and is presided over by Lance Reddick playing Milo the serial killer wrangler/whisperer.
I personally prefer his voice portrayal of Alan Rails in Rick and Morty
And I also really loved his portrayal as coke sniffing demon Papa Legba from American Horror Story Coven.
Anyways, like with most things, anytime you add alcohol to a party, this tends to take things up a notch, and pretty soon the once “sober” group of serial killers finds themselves tempted and the black male lead finds himself murdered in the bathroom by the dude from the Knife.
And pretty soon all hell breaks loose, as the white dude tries to save his 18 and pregnant friend from certain doom.
Milo becomes enraged at the behaviour of his charges and tries to bring a cease to the violence going on around him and promptly gets murdered for his efforts.
I would like to note as well that this film had a lot of Dutch angles in it. Not altogether a good look when they were followed up one after the other and it made me feel vaguely seasick, but there were a few pretty neat looking shots.
The film gets a touch choppy in the middle and seems to lose focus of the story being told as the sister of the family says she wants to get out and doesn’t want to kill anymore and vows to help the 18 and pregnant crew, while also revealing that there’s a hideous monster Bart and Hugo situation going on in the basement.
The monster gets “loosed” and promptly bites the pregnant chick’s face off and then immediately gets killed and it’s like.. why was this necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about us biting people’s faces off, but it seemed like such a jarring addition to the story that I was left somewhat flabbergasted.
My one kind of standing criticism with the movie is that while it presented itself as slick, well made, and with a very distinct style, it still kinda read as boring and hard to follow, which tells me that more work was put into the presentation than behind the scenes. A lot of the onscreen chemistry didn’t read super well either, leaving the film seeming to suffer from incoherent writing while the production was actually quite good.
A rousing pull each other into the pool a la Sinister and and a chainsaw fight punctuate the end of the film. The chainsaw is neon green so some of the coolness factor is lost, but it’s still pretty alright.
Hot mom Robin Tunney agrees to pay the surviving white kid off, and he drives away all cool in a fancy sports car and goes to take car of his dad’s gambling debt.
I was left with more questions than answers on this one, and the thing is that this film had all the makings of something awesome, but couldn’t really rally it all together to make it so.
As always, I’m interested to check out more from this director, and please for the love of God can we do less Dutch angles and more Robin Tunney?
Overall rating – 2/6
This movie was a bit of a confusing ride, but was pretty to look at. Would have liked to have seen the concept be fleshed out more about the serial killers, and would have preferred no Bart/Hugo situation. But, we can’t win ’em all, now can we?
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