Monster Project, The. A Found Footage Film Without Found Footage Trappings
Monster Project, The. Film Details
Director: Victor Mathieu
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Release Format: On Demand / Digital HD
MPAA Rating: TBA
Genre: Action, Horror
Running Time: 1h 35min
A recovering drug addict takes a job with a documentary crew who plans to interview three subjects who claim to be real life monsters.
The Monster Project although following familiar tropes in the Found Footage genre stands as an imaginative and impressive idea. From the facet of the writing, a contemporary method of storytelling becomes present. The narrative concentrates on issues that reflect true-to-life scenarios. The Monster Project delves into relationships, drug abuse, and loyalty. Combined each segment allows emotion to flourish against a Horror backdrop. To implement this storytelling Billings, Lynn, and Mathieu crafted a roster of convincing characters.
Each actor offered genuine chemistry with their performances and believability. Each actor showed an authentic portrait of being terrified. The core characters in this narrative are Shayla (portrayed by Yvonne Zima), Devon (portrayed by Justin Bruening), Bryan (portrayed by Toby Hemingway) and Jamal (portrayed by Jamal Quezaire). These roles have an intimate combustible relationship that becomes unpredictable till the closing frame.
The highlight to The Monster Project lies with the creature design. Viewers will appreciate the level of detail that went into each monster. Once the creatures get the spotlight dominate visuals become appealing. The vampire and demon borrow the conventional appeal to their respected sources. Yet, the form of the Skinwalker resurrected the threatening werewolf theme. At least Mathieu opted to reinforce the Skinwalker concept and not adopt the over-sized dog aesthetic. Stephenie Meyer’s novel to film adaptation best sums the comparison issued.
The special effects were amateurish both in aesthetics and conceptual approach. Seen in Mathieu’s film is the depressed-eyed-long jaw demonic face. Frightening, this becomes the sarcastic single worded declaration. This visual does not offer scares whatsoever. The Vicious Brothers offer great execution of this CGI effect in their 2011 found footage release. Since then this visual effect became the standard in Horror films.
In fact, this demonic profile made a recent appearance. Be sure to catch this tired CGI effect in Mike Flanagan‘s 2016 horror film.
The static overlay effect becomes another negative to The Monster Project. Yes, the idea is to convince audiences the film is an actual documentary. Mathieu also uses a video overlay of a demonic face. Applying this particular visual effect brings to mind William Friedkin’s 1973 Horror film. In this example the overlay wasn’t expected, it happens at random intervals. By using an unpredictable approach the visual effect become iconic. In Found Footage concepts directors feel the need to overstate and over-amplify the scene. A natural approach As Friedkin used would favor The Monster Project.
The visuals noted above would entertain the casual Horror film spectator. Connoisseurs of Found Footage concepts would also find Mathieu’s film favorable. Yet, for well-versed genre aficionados, the visuals used are cheap scare tactics. These fear-factors were lacking and predictable. The Monster Project feels original but the CGI and visual effects weigh down this production.
Each monster featured in Mathieu’s film had the potential for further exploration. The practical effects and costume design defined each commissioner of evil. Yet, Billings, Lynn, and Mathieu offered no influential backstory to these antagonizing forces. Placing them as reality show guests and the commotion they caused made potential iconic characters into gimmicky performers. A worthy subplot would have included the trio of creatures and the lives they live.
The Monster Project will appeal to found footage audiences. Mathieu manages to evade the common forms established in the found-footage sector. ACT I organized conflict and characters. ACT II and ACT III deliver on quick paced action sequences. It is most welcome to see no time exhausted on boring nonsensical additions.
The practical effects were commendable yet the computer effects made The Monster Project feel amateurish. Mathieu does a great job at producing a distinctive style to the Found Footage genre.
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