I picked these two newer titles off Amazon Prime for a creature double feature with no knowledge of what I was getting myself into beyond the brief descriptions of each movie. It was luck of the draw this time, because Field Freak and The Monster are very different, but both managed to entertain.
THE MONSTER (2016)
Bryan Bertino, director of The Strangers and Mockingbird, brings us this film of a mother and daughter who become stranded on a dark, desolate road and are then trapped in their car by a hellish creature that comes out of the woods.
Bertino’s style definitely comes through here, as the film is paced much like The Strangers. Before the horror, it starts slow to establish the conflicts between the main characters, with the mom and daughter on a road trip to drop the daughter off to stay with her father.
This major white trash pair is like something from a Where Are They Now: Teen Mom Edition. The mother looks like the daughter’s older sister, and they fight like sisters, too. There are also flashbacks revealing their dysfunctional family situation. By the time the dark creature starts terrorizing them, you’re pretty much an amateur if you haven’t already guessed what the monster represents.
So, yeah, this is a deep, smart, thinker’s horror film. But at least it’s still entertaining, sort of like Cujo with an actual (metaphorical) monster. Mom and daughter crash on a road during a rainstorm at night, call a tow truck, and…you know the rest.
They must try to stay alive inside the car until someone manages to come rescue them without getting eaten by the monster.
The creature is wicked cool looking, plus we get some gore, jump scares, and suspense. All the ingredients needed for a quick horror fix…which you’ll pretty much forget exists a month from now.
FIELD FREAK (2016)
This is one of the most refreshing horror comedies I’ve seen in a while. The casually comic performances of the cast are a unique contrast to the “monster” terrorizing them, which is presented entirely as a real threat, complete with all the “scary” bells and whistles.
I really had no idea what I was in for when I started Field Freak, but I was charmed into it within a matter of minutes. A family staying at a house in the woods begins hearing animal sounds at night and stepping in piles of poo in the morning. They think they have a pest problem, but the audience is clued in pretty quickly that there’s actually a Bigfoot roaming the woods!
The quirky cast of unknowns delivers quick, dry humor that had me laughing out loud.
The family alone is a hoot, but there are also a bunch of local hicks added to the mix, including an exterminator, a one-legged root beer maker, and a gun store owner.
The comedy blends perfectly with campy moments of suspense and gore, and the Bigfoot is (smartly) not a high-quality horror creation, which wouldn’t quite fit the tone of the film.
However, even though it’s just a guy in a suit, it’s an impressively designed Bigfoot suit. Any drawbacks are hidden by creative filming that is both eye-opening yet fleeting enough to mask detail. Essentially, it’s just like all the mysterious footage we’ve seen over the decades that purports to be video of actual Bigfoot sightings.
This is the most fun I’ve had with a family and the Foot since Harry and the Hendersons.