Mon mon mon Monsters, pronounced as if Scooby Doo was saying it, is a odd horror drama about lonely high school life, and…monsters. Though put aside any hopes of a adult Scooby Doo style horror movie.
One of the issues is that the film opens with a great kill, introducing the monsters (more feral humans, than monsters) but keeping them squatted in shadow. Expectations are set for a gory creature feature which Ko never really delivers. After this gritty into, the film gets a bit bogged down by its high school bullying narrative and grants increasingly scarce time to the film’s most interesting aspect: a matriarchal monster seeking her kidnapped daughter. It also doesnt have much of a body count which sucks when the feral humans are so good at tearing folks to bits.
After a certain point you can’t deny we’ve seen versions of this bully-revenge film before, and though the concept is a fresher take, it’s not out-there enough to feel truly unique. It’s a bullying narrative bookended by a monster movie, which at points can make both concepts feel fresher than they could’ve but not enough to justify such a long-winded middle act. Watching a group of spoilt shitty brats torture a young girl isn’t outrageously fun, or spooky.
That being said Ko does successfully orchestrate the big macabre finale teased throughout. It’s not as much of a twist as it is a ‘will he, won’t he’ scenario and the final moments cement this as wildly more nihilistic than originally thought. In the end Ko clearly has little respect for high schoolers, or their odds of survival, but if we compare Mon Mon Mon Monsters to something like Takeshita Mike’s Lesson of Evil, it feels disappointingly soft-core, and a little too in love with its own climax. But nor does Mon Mon Mon Monsters want to turn that into a shameless creature feature. Which leaves this, Ko’s third feature film, a dull high school drama sprinkled with horror trappings.
Dir. Giddens Ko
Stars. Eugenie Liu, Kent Tsai, Yu-Kai Teng, James Lai, Carolyn Chen