Your Monster Review: Theater Camp Meets Beauty And The Beast

Your Monster Review: Theater Camp Meets Beauty And The Beast

Melissa Barrara stars in this riff on Beauty And The Beast. Our review of Your Monster from the Sundance London Film Festival…

Your Monster

You know right from the start there’s a definite sense of the ridiculous woven into Caroline Lindy’s Your Monster. Laura (Melissa Barrara) is being wheeled out of a hospital and looks decidedly miserable. The soundtrack? The everso chippy Put On A Happy Face from the musical Bye Bye Birdy. It’s daft, it’s silly, it sets the tone and points us in the direction of all-singing, all-dancing theatre.

Having been treated for cancer is bad enough for Laura, but being dumped by her theatre director boyfriend Jacob (a slimy Edmund Donovan) is the reason for her sadness. Getting over it is hard, especially when she discovers he’s started auditions for the musical they wrote together and she’s the last to know. While she works to get a toe in the door, she also realises she has an unusual flatmate – the monster that lived under her bed when she was a child. He proves to be her biggest ally, helping her through the heartbreak and encouraging her to get back on stage, as well as getting her own back on her ex in spectacular fashion.

The basic premise is simple – a riff on Beauty And The Beast, with Monster (Tommy Dewey) buried beneath leonine prosthetics that recall both the Disney live action version and Ron Perlman in the ‘80s TV series. He’s also full of emotions, from the inevitable teeth-baring anger to weeping at classic musicals, as well as burgeoning feelings for Laura. The complexities of a rom-com-horror, however, is perhaps asking too much of a story that was originally on screen as a short, also directed by Lindy. It works well for the first hour but, as the second half arrives, the idea starts to unravel, with its genre-bending aspects limping to the fore. Despite the winning combination of Dewey and Barrara, who’s more comfortable here than being a scream-queen, it spirals out of control so that the ending feels out of place, even if it does deserve kudos for sheer audacity.

Aside from a few bloody moments in its latter stages, there’s little that could truly be described as horror in the film. The romance, despite Monster’s copious hair and fangs, is still conventional, leaving it to comedy to bring some consistency to the film. Thankfully it does, through its sharply ironic choice of songs to the heavily satirised show that Laura has in her sights, as well as the main characters. But, despite its plus points, it still leaves behind a lingering feeling that it tried too hard to do too much.

Your Monster screens at Sundance London on 7 and 8 June. Its UK cinema release has yet to be announced.

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