5/12/2020

Monstrum (Review)

Director: Jong-ho Huh
Writers: Heo-dam (as Dam Heo) and Jong-ho Huh (as Jong-ho Heo)
Cast: Myung-Min Kim, In-kwon Kim, Hyeri Lee, Woo-sik Choi, Sung-woong Park, Hee-soon Park
Year: 2018
Min: 105

A deadly creature, known as Monstrum, is said to be killing people and spreading a horrible plague in 16th century Joseon. The current king Jungjong (Hee-soon Park) sends for his most trusted man, disgraced and former general Yun Ky (Myung-Min Kim) to come out of retirement and find the beast. He brings his adopted daughter Myung (Hyeri Lee), his right hand man Sung Han (In-kwon Kim), and young, court officer Hur (Woo-sik Choi) to assist him. Is the monster real or is it made up and part of a plot by prime minister Sim Woon (Kyeong-yeong Lee) to overthrow the king? Our heroes must and will find out the reality behind Monstrum.

Monstrum (original title Mulgoe) is a Korean movie that mixes period piece/ political intrigue with the action and horror/ creature feature movie. As a matter of fact, film proclaims, in its prologue, to be based on historical events. What it definitely is, is a lot of fun and will get you wrapped up in the proceedings from its very start. The flick is, to put it quite bluntly, fucking awesome!

Director and co-writer (along with Heo-dam) Jong-ho Huh delivers a very nice looking movie. It has good production values with beautiful costuming. Huh is also great at handling action scenes. They are exciting and violent, and for the large majority of the film, excellently choreographed and shot clearly. He is also very adapt at building suspense and keeps the movie firing on all cylinders. The flick will have you feeling a myriad of emotions. These include making you laugh, as the movie is also quite funny in parts. The humor actually manages to add to the film and makes it even more fun, never detracting or taking away from what is going on.

The story is highly involving and very well plotted. The mystery of the creature is one that develops itself nicely and doesn't ever disappoint. The political intrigue is handled in an exciting and interesting manner that will keep one caring in what is happening onscreen. It all builds up to a thrilling climax that will you all on the edge of your seats.

The acting is very good, as the cast all give strong performances. The character of Myung (Hyeri Lee) is great! She comes off as progressive for the time period in which the story is told. But, this is done in a natural manner befitting to the story and does not feel forced or tacked on. She is wonderfully bought to life by the beautiful Lee. Prime minister Sim Woon, as played by Kyeong-yeong Lee, is easy to hate . Which, in turn, makes us cheer for the good guys, especially Myung-Min Kim who does a great turn as heroic lead Yun Ky.

The CGI is quite good, as Monstrum looks cool, powerful, and frightening. The movie also has some good gore. They included dismemberment (both on camera and post-mortem), arterial sprays, slashing, crushed bodies, and the monster chomping down on its victims. Not to mention the gross looking sores and slime dripping and spraying that add to the visceral effect, and in some moments, the fun nature of the film.

Monstrum is a kick ass genre bender. It is filled with excitement, great action, and a cool monster. The characters are well written and bought to life by very strong acting. The heroes are likable and the villains are total dicks. It is a ton of fun and fellow creature feature and action fans will surely eat this one up! It starts streaming this Thursday, May 14, 2020 on Shudder.


3.5 out of 4

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