Bryan Bertino wrote and directed The Strangers, and now reunites with Scott Speedman to deliver The Monster, a close-up on the relationship between a mother and her estranged daughter trapped in a dark wood.
Alcoholic Kathy (Zoe Kazan) is taking her daughter Lizzy (Ella Ballentine) to her ex-husband’s for his custodial visit, with the intent to leave her there. Kathy’s drinking has caused a rift between the two women, and Lizzy’s path through this dark and rainy night seems brighter thanks to her mother’s agreement to let her father have custody. But on the road that night, the two of them become stranded, and a dark force lurks in the woods.
The “monster” in question I will leave to you to view and appreciate, but there is a layered feel to the way that this is discussed and viewed. The evil force that they combat is clearly uncomfortable in the light, like all are of our boogeyman, a reminder that shining a light on the darkness (figuratively and physically) has a tendency to drive it away. But then there’s the darkness of a mother whose addiction causes her to abandon her child, who fails to be the ‘hero’ in her daughter’s story. Here in the dark wood, the relationship is in the crucible and Bertino artfully delivers a tale of suspense, horror, and redemption.
Special features include the “Eyes in the Darkness” featurette.