Monstro! (2010), the new (supposed) antipodean shocker from the Land Down Under is just that very thing – monstrous. Selling itself as a horror-action comedy, it’s heavy on the horror (if slapstick gore qualifies as horror), but non-existent on action or comedy. This gratuitous exercise in sleaze, directed by Stuart Simpson and starring veteran Australian actor Norman Yemm alongside newcomers Nellie Scarlet, Karli Madden, Kate Watts and Kyrie Capri, should carry a government health warning alongside its age rating – watching it could seriously damage your faith in independent filmmaking.
Three deranged chicks, Baretta (Scarlet), Blondie (Madden) and Snowball (Watts), are on the run and in need of a place to hide. Hijacking a car, after theirs has broken down, and killing the owners, the girls drive to a small seaside community where a friend has a beach hut. Apart from an old man, Joseph (Yemm) and his granddaughter Hannah (Capri), the place is deserted. However the surrounding ocean isn’t. Despite dire warnings from Joseph, the killer babes go swimming and awaken an ancient sea monster which takes terrible and bloody revenge on the unfortunate trio.
When a director, as in the case of Simpson, is also responsible for most of the behind the camera roles in a production, it’s often time for alarm bells to start ringing, especially in the area of small budget, independent horror. Is it because they want full artistic control of their vision? Or, as with Monstro!, is it simply that the film is so substandard that no-one with integrity would want their name in anyway associated with it.
The sole thing in Monstro!’s favour is the wonderful Capri, whose initial innocence soon gives way to a tougher side when she battles to save her grandfather from the ‘fearful’ Kraken. Of the four young females in the film, Capri is the only one (Madden aside, who had a bit part in 2011 crime drama Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here) who has gone on to do more substantial work. You can forgive her appearance here as a false start on what could be a promising career if she steers clear of tripe like this – which is effectively what you should do too.