Sometimes, you find a gem of a movie, one that others haven’t really heard of. You know when you watch it that you need to tell everyone about it, let them all know what they’re missing. That’s The Monster Project for me. The story revolves around a recovering drug addict who needs money and ends up working on a documentary crew. The head filmmaker posts a Craigslist ad to find people who believe they are real-life monsters and lands on three subjects: a police officer claiming to be a skinwalker, a vampiric tattoo artist, and an Asian girl with stories of demonic torment. The crew rents an abandoned house for the interviews and soon learn that monsters are definitely real.
When I first watched The Monster Project several years ago, I wasn’t sure what I was in for. I went in blind, but I absolutely loved it. The monsters chosen for the film were outstanding, especially Shiori, the demon. Played by Shiori Ideta, the actress really captured me when she was on screen, and her character played for some of the best scares. The skinwalker and vampire monsters were also fantastic and had some amazing moments in the film. As a superfan of practical effects (non-CGI), this film had plenty of incredible makeups and effects. The little bit of CGI they used was also good, but it’s always fun to find a movie that heavily uses those practical effects and does it so well since it is so hard to find in recent years.
One of the things I loved about the movie was the changing of the lore. When dealing with monsters such as vampires, we see a lot of the same lore over and over. Garlic and holy water hurt them, sun and stakes kill them, and they need blood to continue living their undead existence. But the writers work so well with changing the mythology just enough for it to be refreshing and new, something that is not done often enough in the paranormal and supernatural realms.
After you’ve experienced the movie, head on over to YouTube for a great 45-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that is a fantastic watch. Some of the things they accomplished in the film are unbelievable, and it’s always fun to learn how the filmmakers and actors achieve creating a wonderful product on a lower budget. Plus, those practical effects! Can’t say enough about them!
In addition, you can watch an 11-part mini-series prequel all about Shiori, the girl possessed by a demon. Since we don’t learn as much about her in the movie, the prequel is so worthwhile and amazingly frightening in its own right. It’s a definite must watch after viewing the film.
While a standalone movie with no cliffhanger, it’s one that screams for a sequel. With the number of monsters out there that director Victor Mathieu could cover, I could only imagine what they would come up with. And this fan could seriously use more monsters.
The Monster Project is streaming on several free services, including Tubi, Vudu, and Roku.
YouTube Featurette: Behind the Scenes
YouTube Smiling Man: 11-part miniseries