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January 10, 2022

Monsters in the Closet (2021)

Even though this film’s trailer intrigued and excited me, I still had that uneasy feeling that comes with most indie films. It’s not often that these flicks succeed and I was worried my hopes would be dashed against the rocks of mediocrity. Fortunately, my psyche experienced only slight battery over the 88-minute running time.

Monsters in the Closet is about a recluse writer who suddenly dies. His estranged daughter goes to his house to do what all surviving family members do – rifle through his shit. Interrupted for only a moment by her father’s publishing house representative about getting their hands on his last work, Jasmin gets to her dad’s house to find a laptop with a recorded video, just for her.

Aside from not taking any responsibility for his aloofness and terrible parenting skills, he wants to tell her about his latest project. It’s going to be a HUGE success! You see, he found a seventeenth-century book on black magic that teaches the reader how to cast spells by writing stories about them. And once you read them aloud, the characters in each story come to life. Imagine, having a real vampire in your house!

Not sure that’s so great, but go on, Father…

What follows is her dad telling four different tales. And as you might guess, an element from each story comes to life in the house where Jasmin sits, ALONE, watching her father’s final video.

 I do love a good anthology film. And while the execution is lacking, overall I have to say I enjoyed it. It’s definitely a comedy/horror mash-up and each story is quite unique from all the others. Not saying the individual stories themselves were particularly original, but I’m glad they didn’t all blend together with shared tropes.

We’ve got zombies, a serial killer, a mad scientist, and just good, old-fashioned, isolated mania. While some of the acting is horrible, I gotta give props to John Paul Fedele and his ability to sell the idea of having sexual relations with an…assembled woman. His story was my favorite as it had me laughing the most often. And I wish I could remember the character names to shout out the actors, but the pair playing the couple who bought their first fixer-upper house in the second segment balanced hyperbole and believability so well! This was a close second place behind the mad scientist story as the humor hit home more often than not.

Something's missing. I can't quite put my finger on it...

The mixed bag of CGI did little to help. Some looked completely realistic, and others were obvious cheap computer programming. But it didn’t detract too much from the movie, making it easily forgettable.

Thankfully, the acting was better than I expected. The worst of it came in the weakest story, the third segment called “The One Percenters”. Cliché, obvious and terrible, and I’ve forgotten most of it. The performances in the main/wrap-around story were lackluster at best, awkward at worst, but not so bad as to make me want to shut it off. The good acting in the rest of the film absolutely made up for anything lacking elsewhere.

If you like to give indie films a try, despite that nagging feeling you might be setting yourself up for a long night of binge drinking, check out this one. I don’t think you’ll be sorry!

3.5 Hatchets (out of 5)



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