The Monster (2016)
Starring Zoe Kazan, Ella Ballentine, and Scott Speedman
Directed by Bryan Bertino
At the heart of The Monster (and perhaps a metaphorical interpretation of the title character) is Kathy (Zoe Kazan), an alcoholic young mother to ten year-old Lizzy (Ella Ballentine). No longer with Lizzy's father (Scott Speedman), Kathy loads Lizzy into the car to take the several hours' drive so her daughter can spend time with her dad. Unfortunately, on a secluded back road, Kathy crashes the car after hitting what appears to be a wolf. While waiting for a tow truck, however, Kathy and Lizzy discover that they may not be alone on the highway as something horrific begins to stalk them in moonlit night.
Through a series of flashbacks -- which, frankly, are the best parts of the film -- we discover just how horrific of a parent Kathy truly is. Obviously a young mother, Kathy never wanted to be parent and her actions since Lizzy's birth prove that nurturing is not a characteristic that comes easy for her. Kazan is a bit scary, yet fully believable as an addicted mother who cares more about her next fix than her daughter's well-being. These moments which shape Lizzy's discontent with her living situation are the best parts of the film. Unfortunately, the "horror" aspects which dominate the picture fall flat for the most part and fail to build to anything substantially riveting.
The RyMickey Rating: C