Saturday, June 13, 2020

Monsterland 2 – review

Directors: Jonathan Holbrook & Elena Stecca (segment)

Release date: 2019

Contains spoilers

I have previously looked at portmanteau film Monsterland, which was full of vampiric goodness, this second outing eschews the wraparound to become a basic anthology and there is only one vampiric element in first short film Brace Face.

Before I look at it, note that it is the attack committed and the maw of sharp pointed teeth that leads me to consider this a vampire flick (or vampiric at least), plus there is an allusion to feeding on blood – however there is no name given for the monster type and there is a satanic element as I’ll mention.

Keegan Healy as the bully
It starts with a girl (Adaryn Healy) stood in her yard when a clod of earth thrown by a bully (Keegan Healy) hits her. He taunts her about the brace, which seals her mouth, before riding off on his bike, but all this has been watched by her father (Dave Shecter). As we see her listlessly brush the earth from her shoulder, we also see him informing her mother (Michelle Stahl) about the taunting of their daughter. Looking at the daughter it has to be say that she seems pale with dark rings round her eyes.

That night the mother awakens and realises that father is not in bed. She goes to the daughter’s room and sees him leaned over her, tools in his hand, as he loosens the brace. We also note that the daughter is bound to the bed by a restraint. In the morning father and daughter are at a table and she is hooked to two IV bags – one that appears to be saline and the other blood – he describes them as her breakfast and that is the allusion to her feeding on blood (though she is being transfused). He gives her a note with things to pick up from the store.

maw of sharp teeth
On her way back she is confronted by the bully and his sister (Chloe Holbrook) but the brace is lose and she has a maw of sharp pointed teeth beneath… I mentioned satanism and we do see mother happy that father cares so much for the daughter and, before physically showing her appreciation, she inverts a cross. Crosses through the house are a theme and this inversion suggests satanism (or more properly Catholicism, as the inverted cross is actually symbolic of the Papal seat, being the cross of Saint Peter… of course pop culture has obfuscated that meaning and replaced it with a thought that it is associated with Satanism).

the parents
This was ok but it was throwaway and had a slight speedup moment that seemed out of place. The acting of the kids was amateurish, but not offensively so, however mother and father were superbly played with a dash of 50s-suburbanism and enough uncanny to keep the viewer interested and the film nicely off kilter. Other than that, it was simple and served its role as film opener but there were much better segments later (especially the final segment, Justice Served). For the vampire segment 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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