“Based on the best-selling book of the same name, MONSTER tells the harrowing tale of Richard, Mary and Andrew - a family of three. On the outside, Mary and Richard appear normal and their son, a deformed hulk of a 7 foot monster rarely seen. Look closer though and see the true monsters as controlling Richard bullies his family into living the life he wants.”

Matt Shaw doesn’t just talk about doing something – when an idea spawns in his head, he fucking well gets straight on and does it.  Whether it’s a short animated cartoon, a decidedly risqué calendar of himself posing in erotic attire, a graphic novel adaptation of one of his novels, or as is the case here, a full length feature film, once he’s set his mind to it, you might as well consider the enterprise a done deal.  Shaw will put his heart and soul and often his own money into whatever the project is, until it’s come to fruition at the consistently high standard that Shaw demands from all his work.

As many of you already know, a little while back Shaw decided to make a feature film of the novel he co-wrote with fellow author Michael Bray – a jolly tale entitled ‘Monster’ (2015).  Like a dog with a veritable bone, Shaw set to work raising the required capital through crowd funding as well as putting in a heap of his own hard earned cash.

The end result of all the blood, sweat and tears is a 1hr 20min feature film, designed to unnerve and unsettle its audience at every possible opportunity.

I guess the first thing that needs to be pointed out about the film is that it’s no gore flick.  Yes there’s a scene or two that involve some pretty grim prosthetics and a damn good splashing of blood to boot.  But for the most part the film instead relies upon the mounting tension, the constant threat of violence, and the unease of what’s not shown.  If you’ve read ‘Monster’ (2015) or indeed any of Matt Shaw’s infamous ‘Black Cover’ books, then you’ll probably be expecting an explicitly graphic film.  Go into ‘Monster’ wanting just this, and this alone, and quite frankly you’re likely to be bitterly disappointed.

‘Monster’ utilises all the know-how and instinct of real horror fans who know more than a thing or two about how to get under the skin of their audience.  The tension created in the film is so gut-churning, so painfully intense, it becomes nigh on impossible to take your eyes off the screen even for a second.  In fact, so much of the film is designed to make its audience feel uncomfortable, that it’s hard to actually ‘enjoy’ sitting there watching it.  Snacks are a fucking no go!

The sound effects, the stillness, the claustrophobia of feeling trapped within such a small environment.  In so many ways the film’s akin to a homegrown ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ festering just out of sight of our own everyday lives.

Admittedly the film’s not without its flaws.  The distinct lack of any background music to assist with the delivery of the story is noticeable and potentially lessons the overall impact of the film.  Dialogue is also relied on that little too much in telling the story – having everything spelt out for us, rather than simply allowing us to view the unfolding horror.

That said, there’s a fuck tonne about the film that’s incredibly effective.  Well-chosen camera angles emphasise the sense and feel of the story.  Rod Glenn and fellow horror author Mark Cassell’s performances are phenomenal.  Glenn delivers his dialogue with such gusto, such an inner-belief of his inherently sadistic vileness, that it’s hard to persuade yourself that he’s not a sick fucking cunt in real life.  Mark Cassell on the other hand plays a vastly different role.  Cassell is cast as one of the nutjob family’s unfortunate victims; finding himself drugged and then mutilated for the enjoyment of his captors in Shaw’s infamous ‘Birthday cake scene’.  Indeed, Cassell manages to project himself in a foggish, disorientated, child-like state, simulating the effects of the drugs he’s supposedly been given to an incredibly believable degree.  In fact, as I finish this write-up I find myself still squirming at Cassell’s first-rate performance.

One thing’s for sure is that this film is most definitely not for everyone.  The lack of blood, gore and paint-by-numbers horror will no doubt disappoint any gorehounds simply looking for another splattering of visceral eye-candy.  However, if you’re willing to immerse yourself in a film that will purposefully and relentlessly burrow its way under your skin, if you’ll allow yourself to be subjected to a little over an hour of emotional and psychological torment designed to get you squirming in your seat, then ‘Monster’ is a film that you really should see.

In ‘Monster’ you should expect nothing short of an unrelenting gnawing away at your base senses.  This is a film designed to creep you out.  Its whole sadistic aim is to get under your skin and mess with you, good and proper.  It pulls you into its uncomfortable embrace and gradually suffocates the life out of you.  From the moment you allow the film to infiltrate your comfortable life, you’ll be opening the door to something that will leave a lasting stain.  That will tarnish and taint your life ever-so-slightly.  The question is, are you willing to have that happen?

There are monsters out there.  Real life motherfucking monsters…
© DLS Reviews

‘Monster’ is due to premiere in London on the 29th June 2018.  However you still have time left to support the film and receive some goodies as a thank you for backing the project.  Click here to be taken to the Indiegogo page for more details.

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