Directed by Victor Mathieu
I feel you. Found footage movies and the found footage sub-genre as a whole have more than run their respective courses. We are all pretty much at the point where we start a movie, realize it’s yet another told in the first-person narrative, and immediately roll our eyes. Yet, every now and again one comes across that grabs us. The Monster Project did just that.
It’s no secret that here at Dread Central we’re very fond of monster movies. They’re the chicken soup for our collective souls. So give us one with a possessed chick, a skinwalker, and a vampire; and you immediately have our attention. From the jump we’re introduced to videographers Devon (Bruening) and Jamal (Quezaire). You know this duo. You’ve seen this duo many times, in many different iterations, on YouTube.
They’re aspiring filmmakers who have made their bones making short creature features for anyone who will watch, and their immediate hope is to go viral and enjoy the successes that come with being Internet entrepreneurs. They need to take their production to the next level so Devon decides that they need to send out an open casting call for real life monsters and film them talking about their experiences inside a truly spooky old house on the night of a lunar eclipse.
Enter Shayla (Zima), the blood-drinking vampire; Steven (Flores), the Skinwalker, and Shiori (Ideta), a poor girl tormented by a very… shall we say… possessive demon. With their monstrous all-stars in place, Devon and Jamal enlist the help of ex-girlfriend Murielle (Zuker) and Bryan (Hemingway) – a recovering addict fresh out of rehab. The sun goes down, cameras roll, absolute and total mayhem ensues.
Let me put your fears to rest before we go any further… YES, there are monsters in this movie; and HELL YES, do you get to see them. Up-close, personal, and in your face. Director Mathieu knows that the stars here are not his filmmakers, but his subjects. He also knows that if you don’t show monsters in a movie called The Monster Project, you’ve totally pissed in the wind for 90 minutes.
As a creature feature, The Monster Project succeeds on just about every level, but unfortunately the shaky-cam elements are just as annoying as they always have been; if that’s not your bag, then you shouldn’t expect this one to win you over. Still, if it doesn’t bother you too much, there’s a lot to like here; and the frenetic pace of the second and third act will more than make up for any of the usual shortcomings you’d expect from an indie feature like this.
The Monster Project proves that there’s still some life left in the old found footage wheelhouse. If you’re curious… give in… grab your popcorn… dim the lights, and eat it up! Shayla, Steven, and Shiori would definitely approve.
Disclaimer: Epic Pictures Group and Dread Central are affiliated. They’ve left us autonomous and free to give our opinion of films released by them. There will never be any favoritism shown toward their projects under any circumstances.
There’s plenty of things going bump in the night in The Monster Project, and each one of them brings the appropriate amount of spooky.