While the box art cover doesn’t appear very horror-like for Monster Party and makes early comparisons to Don’t Breathe, it shall in generating a seriously intense bloodbath to even ridiculous proportions, with many graphic scenes. Therefore, one could label it a sleeper independent movie, as it first lulls the viewer in one direction with a thriller before switching over to sheer horror. As in the past, the horror genre movies dealt with phobias, and even a hint towards addictions, Cat’s Eye (1985) this movie is all about that same subject one’s addiction, for us horror fans the constant need to feed ourselves with horror flicks, herein the characters deal with gambling, theft, and of course murder. Chris von Hoffmann served as both director and writer of this interesting movie, that uses some common clichés found in horror flicks, but also takes gambles on the overall concept, and finds pay dirt achieving distribution with RLJE Films.
Open with the brief introduction of three young people Casper (Sam Strike (Leatherface ), Iris (Virginia Gardner (Halloween ) and her boyfriend Dodge (Brandon Michael Hall) survive by committing burglaries and always adhering to careful strikes in the game-plans, pot smoking afterwards. One day coincidentally Iris obtains a waitress job at very private party at a mansion of a very rich family, not much in connection stating how this all occurs, nevertheless she believes it’s a poor decision to rob them, and for a moment it’s cast away. Meanwhile Casper’s father is in hot water with a gambling bookie, Emory who owns a strip club called Alibi. Soon all three agree to rob the home for various reasons, Casper needing $10,000 to save his father, and Iris is pregnant wanting a better life with Dodge. It’s here, that von Hoffmann works to make the audience care about these thieves when they arrive at the spectacular mansion, with the sole intention to steal from the wealthy, the initial appearance showing a class system: the poor versus the rich.
Soon one gets an introduction with the Dawson Family, owners of the home with Roxanne (Robin Tunney (The Craft ), Patrick (Julian McMahon (The Bait ), as the parents of Elliot (Kian Lawley (The Chosen ), and Alexis (Erin Moriarty). Alexis, makes an interesting appearance, a bird of prey looking down at the trio of robbers, a smirk quickly vanishing for a better one of disgust, which hits to the party and future evening events. As the party starts an odd slickness of cinematography occurs with the party guests arrive with a flourish, as if part of music video, the richness of their presence, and swagger in their demeanor, some showing flaunt in appearance, and others reserve confidence. During the appetizer hour, hints of racist behavior surface, all directed at Dodge and his relationship with Iris, an African American and white woman. Dodge finding himself surrounded by coke fiends making opaque references about him and sexual suggestions about her, viewers know the warning signs, none of this results in a positive outcome. The group around the dinner table confess to their addictions, all of the same, murderers unite with both Patrick and Elliot both having control issues, among the Dawson’s, is the leader Milo (Lance Reddick. Joining them a thankful Ollie (Diego Boneta (City of Dead Men ) and a pair of racist cocaine addict brothers Jeremy (Jamie Ward (The Rezort ) and Cameron (Chester Rushing). It does take quite a while for the movie to flip the script from thriller to horror nearly 40-minutes, as it starts one individual losing his grip on life, and failing to recognize a trap cliché. Once the film enters into the realm of slasher and mayhem the cast becomes crazier and Alexis becomes the lone wolf of reason, among the choice of weapons some in a secure hallway closet a chainsaw, meat cleaver, ax, sword and a revolver, sadly no candlestick (oops wrong movie). Needless the killing tools used a bloody mess ensues in second half of the movie. Just one question, is Alexis really a Dawson, did she join the family or did they her in, as Milo hints to her ‘father’ he made him want he is, living in the richness of the home with this his family? Well you will discover the answers for your viewing pleasure.
Von Hoffman and cinematographer Tobias Deml (both who worked on Drifter (2016)) deliver, a few comedic lines to break the tension, yet included the racism and exploit a crafty scene for a set-up to bloodshed. Yes, the film, includes many comparisons to Don’t Breathe, but with far less suspense and some typical horror clichés, however at times perhaps pushing the story a tad too far for most of the audience. The aspiring trio has absolutely poor decision-making skills, perhaps too much pot smoking. The house, a very real location, in Malibu, California, available for rentals estimated around $70,000, however filming stays localized in the Neo-Classical style glorious mansion though for sale at a mere $14.5 million, with 11,425 square feet of living space. Want the address?
Home Invasion movies, always for shifting moments in the storytelling, each of the characters might survive to the end or not, though face it often enough clichés are going to occur, but little twists herein make them worth a viewing, perhaps more than once. Note for the b-movie lovers out there’s a cameo appearance from Victoria De Mare star of Werewolf in a Women’s Prison (2006), (hint) it occurs at the strip club.
IMDb Rating: 4.9/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10