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Monster flick has a simple and familiar plot. Annie (Jessica Madsen from Leatherface) is a woman recovering from a nervous breakdown and returning to her old, rural childhood home with her daughter Emily (Opal Littleton). Once there, she finds that something inhuman has moved into the long empty house and it wants her daughter.

Flick written and directed by Padraig Reynolds is a bit of a mixed bag. There are things he gets right and things that don’t work so well. The movie looks great. Reynolds has a real good visual eye and really knows how to frame his shots. He also makes great use of his farmhouse location and the surrounding area. There is some intensity and some spookiness and while the success of his creatures may be a matter of taste, they are an original design and well executed. It’s the script that holds things back. It’s simply too reliant on far too many familiar elements. We have a woman seeing monsters and having her daughter go missing and her previous mental state casts a lot of doubt on her credibility and innocence. We have Annie tracking down a conspiracy theorist (Gerald Tyler), who has heard of these beasties and is hunting them and is the only one who believes her. How convenient! The character is basically there for exposition and then disposed of quickly. He could have been removed from the flick entirely with no harm to the thin plot. Obviously, as in all these scenarios, Annie is vindicated in the last act when her estranged husband (Ed Brody) and the local sheriff (Kristina Clifford) finally meet our critters and they team up to rescue Emily. It’s all very cliché. Still, it is well made and there are far worse things you could waste your time with. Currently streaming on Netflix.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating