Film Review: Monstrum

fear awakes

Throughout history, evil and power-hungry men have created fictional monsters in order to control people. Religion is the most obvious example, which has been used for thousands of years as a means of social control. Every society is full of myths and legends. Cautionary tales of fantastical creatures and supernatural beings to keep citizens on the straight and narrow. However, not every phantom of boogieman is the result of a cunning imagination. As our heroes discover in Monstrum.

In 16th century Korea a plague is coursing through the land, striking fear amongst the nation. Meanwhile, rumours spread of a terrifying creature roaming Mount Inwangsan, known as ‘Monstrum’. With traitors stirring up trouble and his realm beset by public unrest, King Jungjong (Hee-soon Park) enlists a former trusted general (Myung-Min Kim) to investigate. Along with his sidekick (Kim In-kwon), daughter (Hyeri Lee) and a royal court officer, they journey to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

Monstrum mixes political intrigue with a creature feature to create a charming and entertaining horror. It works so well thanks to the chemistry between the four leads. That and a rich vein of humour which runs through Jong-ho Huh’s film. It looks beautiful and the action choreography is both impressively done and imaginatively executed. Monstrum revels in the murky world of political intrigue to give its monster extra bite.

Monstrum is released on Blu-ray and Digital by Acorn Media International and Shudder on 4 October, and then on DVD on 11 October.

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