Reviewed by: David Graham

"Uninspired, with an anticlimactic siege proving too little, too late to save this lumpen garbage from sinking to the depths."

The Ozploitation boom shows no sign og abating, but for every distinguished offering like The Loved Ones there's sub-B-movie tripe such as Monstro! to wade through. Attempting to appeal to a rockabilly crowd that traditionally laps up trashy old-school monster movies, this ruthlessly calculated but woefully misjudged mess occasionally sparks into visceral life, but for the most part merely stutters through a threadbare plot populated by unlikable characters.

A trio of mean man-eaters are on the rad and the run, but their classic ride isn't getting them very far. Detouring into a secluded seaside town, the girls chance upon a pretty young thing whom they aim to corrupt out of her small-town ways, partially in revenge against her cat-calling grandfather. When one of the group goes missing, the girls go looking for answers, but little do they realise that a legendary sea-monster is about to make its presence known.

Copy picture

While there's no doubting the punky charisma of the three leads, the script wastes their efforts by turning them into the lamest bad-girl caricatures imaginable; shimmying on car bonnets and binge-drinking like laddish louts may be all well and good but it's bloody boring to watch. When they tip over into nastily jarring violence, it feels like a From Dusk Til Dawn rug-pulling indulgence that just doesn't work. Too many scenes go on forever but lead nowhere, the dialogue is dire, and the only decent actors are lumbered with the least interesting parts.

The monster effects are actually reasonably well done when they do arrive, but for a film of such mercifully brief duration, there's nowhere near enough of them. A black and white opening is fairly well handled, but once the girls show their true colors any investment the viewer might have had in them will likely go out the window. The subsequent story is a mess of derivative ideas and execution. It's uninspired, with an anticlimactic siege proving too little, too late to save this lumpen garbage from sinking to the depths. Tremors it ain't. In fact it ain't even Troma.

If writer/director Stuart Simpson pitched Monstro as a short film at a quarter of the length, it might have cut the mustard, but in this unnecessarily inflated form it's an unwieldy beast that even straight-to aficionados will find trying. The plentiful extras weren't available for review but I don't doubt they'll prove more enjoyable than the main feature itself, and will probably be more interesting for aspiring film-makers as an example of good intentions gone bad.

Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2012
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Monstro! packshot
A trio of man-eaters encounter a deadly creature from the deep.
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Director: Stuart Simpson

Writer: Stuart Simpson

Starring: Norman Yemm, Nelli Scarlet, Kyrie Capri, Karli Madden, Kate Watts

Year: 2010

Runtime: 75 minutes

Country: Australia


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