Directed by: Stewart Sparke
Produced by: Paul Butler & Stewart Sparke
Screenplay: Paul Butler
Editor: Stewart Sparke
Cinematographer: Hamish Saks
I had high hopes for Book of Monsters after seeing what looked like a fun, gory,
tongue-in-cheek movie trailer. Unfortunately, the trailer for the film is better than the actual movie. It’s a shame, because despite some nifty makeup effects and a game cast, Book of Monsters is ultimately a wasted opportunity.
Book of Monsters arrives with an interesting backstory. It began life as a Kickstarter film campaign in 2017, and it started with a unique twist – financial backers had the chance to vote on six key elements of the script, including what form the various monsters would take and how they killed their victims. Backers also decided which surprise guest would show up at a birthday party, as well as what unique weapon would be utilized at some point in the film. It's akin to a Choose Your Own Adventure movie, though this one includes a mysterious, leather bound book that’s all too similar to the one used in Evil Dead. Sadly, the story on how the film ultimately got made is far more interesting than Book of Monsters itself.
Director Stewart Sparke made a terrific speech on his film, saying, "The love and support we have received from the horror community to get this film made was absolutely inspiring since it premiered at FrightFest last year. We've been incredibly lucky to see the film play at horror festivals around the world. I've got to extend a huge thank you to all of our amazing Kickstarter backers for making the film possible in the first place."
The premise of Book of Monsters is as simple as it gets: Sophie, a troubled young woman, is celebrating her 18th birthday party, which quickly becomes a bloodbath when six terrifying monsters descend upon her house, intent on devouring the party guests and killing anyone who tries to leave. Sophie comes with a back story: her mother was murdered by one of these creatures, with Sophie witnessing it all. (Sophie is also a lesbian, which no one makes a big deal of…a refreshing change).
Book of Monsters is patched together from too many far superior films, most notably Evil Dead (I was also reminded of Gremlins, The Exorcist and Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Though I enjoyed some of the monsters, and chuckled at a few moments here and there, Book of Monsters falls flat. It’s trying to be another Evil…but it’s simply Dead on arrival.
From the Back Row, Left of Center…