Combustible Celluloid
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With: Christina Ricci, Santino Barnard, Don Baldaramos, Colleen Camp, Lew Temple, Carol Anne Watts, Peter Hodge, Nick Vallelonga, Sally Elbert, Rachael Edlow
Written by: Carol Chrest
Directed by: Chris Sivertson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror, thematic elements and brief violence
Running Time: 89
Date: 05/13/2022

Monstrous (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Lake Eerie

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Most of the events that unfold in Monstrous have already occurred in numerous recent movies and TV shows, but even so, the film's design and Christina Ricci's committed performance in the central role make it worth a late-night look. Ricci plays Laura, a 1950s mom who has escaped an abusive husband with her young son Cody (Santino Barnard). Everything is crisp and pastel-colored in the country house she rents, even if her nasty landlady Mrs. Langtree (Colleen Camp) snarls at her every question or request. (Mr. Langtree, played by Don Baldaramos, is thankfully more helpful.) Laura lands a job in a typing pool and sends Cody off to school. Before long, the husband begins phoning the house, making Laura jump every time she hears a ring. But perhaps more alarming, a monster from the nearby lake has been creeping into Cody's room at night. He begins making "creepy kid drawings" (using up all that black crayon) of the monster and becoming obsessed with it. Soon Laura starts seeing things too. To be honest, the storytelling is strictly surface-level, but Ricci does a fine job keeping her anxiety and fear just barely contained, and the ending was mostly a surprise to me.

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