Mock-ups of retro exploitation, or more accurately Oz-sploitation, are becoming something of a regularity over recent years with ‘Monstro’ being the latest in a fairly long line of niche genre movies to be released in the UK. There is something about the Australian lifestyle, or perhaps it’s just the accent, I’m not sure, which makes their quirky characters fit the bill perfectly, even where their acting is shit, they still seem to suit the free-loving drifter stereotypes they aim to portray.
‘Monstro’ a bizarre mix of tarentino-esk script, three fugitive chicks and a sea monster, is a creature-feature which captures all the best aspects of the era’s clichés with very few of its weaknesses.
The plot is relatively simple, and without wanting to sell the movie short, I mean let’s be honest you aren’t picking up a movie called ‘Monstro’ to end up interpreting the imagery are you, it is about the aforementioned fugitives shacking up at a remote beach house, awakening a sea monster, and doing battle with the beast; all dressed in bikini attire, and using every expletive available in the dictionary. It holds up well! It’s what I expected, and shamelessly delivered, it’s what I got.
The strengths of the movie lie within its simplicity of context, but subtlety of its content. I use the term subtle in terms of its intention, as this movie is pretty much the opposite in its set pieces. Director/writer Stuart Simpson, must have subjected himself to countless of these movies! Poor bastard, because he has captured the very essence of the retro exploitation genre in ‘Monstro’. The script is vulgar but witty. The characters a barely recognisable as human beings, yet they seem to act within the constraints of their stereotypes and the set pieces of the movie a pitched perfectly in terms of their order and pacing.
When its sexy time, the girls are sexy! A range of activities including splash time fun and drunken lezzer-kisses are amongst the highlights and are as engaging as the gore! Its exploitative for sure, but it delivers to its audience what it demands. The gore too fits the bill. Of course it’s cheap looking, but it delivers some fairly excessive gore in parts, even where less would have done, and as with the sex, the deaths are well spread out and the pace flows seamlessly between.
Last but not least comes the creature design. El Monstro! or the Kraken to you or I, is a mixture of CGI and puppet. The creature design looks good, although it’s nothing terribly unique, and the set pieces the creature features in are well thought through, making use of some good set design and camera angles to make the creature attacks seem intensely entertaining. These scenes, particularly towards the end, seal the deal for the whole trippy experience.
Overall ‘Monstro’ is a movie which openly advertises itself as a homage to the golden-eras gone by, where the chicks were hot, the loving was free and well, film making was incoherent and grimy. It certainly ticks all those boxes, but somehow manages to avoid feeling cliché and if anything the concept, if a little unoriginal, seemed somewhat fresh. This movie has already hit our shores (forgive the pun), and I heartily recommend you check it out. We were well impressed!