Skip to main content

Independent Film Review: El monstro del mar! (2010 - DVD 2012)

Lost Art Films
Breaking Glass Pictures (Street Release: February 28, 2012)
Runtime: 74 minutes
Rated: No MPAA Rating
Director: Stuart Simpson
Writer: Stuart Simpson
Starring: Norman Yemm, Nelli Scarlet, Kyrie Capri, Karli Madden, Kate Watts
Thriller | Horror | Comedy

El monstro del mar! is about three young ladies – later four – who recklessly go about to have fun and end up going for a swim in a remote Australian body of water. “Blondie” (Karli Madden), “Snowball” (Kate Watts), and “Beretta” (Nelli Scarlet) are bad girls who spend their lives doing what they want with no sense of purpose beyond drugs and alcohol—in other words, they are like almost all college girls, but with an added willingness to glide a razor blade across a man's throat and watch him bleed out with contempt for his convulsing, reddened body.

When the girls arrive at the water, their good times are interrupted by a crippled old man in a wheelchair (Norman Yemm) who demands that they get out of the water at once. But do they listen? Not a chance. Their calloused indifference to good sense awakens a ravenous sea beast that once again goes on a killing spree.

Once again, I say? Yes, once again. Having spent years trying to keep his young granddaughter, “Hannah” (Kyrie Capri) out of the know about what really happened to her parents and to keep her away from the water, when she meets these three bad influences, the old man will find her making some defiant judgment calls of her own.

But as dangerous as this sea monster is, it is the beast that has no idea of who it's messing with. What seems from the start to be a pathetic addition to grindhouse gore with deficient acting, guided only by the appeal of scantily clad girls, grows into a surprisingly watchable piece from writer/director Stuart Simpson who brings us a filthy-but-distinguished work of art that we find ourselves wanting more and more to like.

Scene-cuts at the wrong places are done for dramatic effect, and they work more often than not. Despite an obviously low budget and hit-or-miss acting with script executions that don't always work (and gore/action sequences that range from overdone to outright laughable), we are still brought back to the conclusion that the film works.

With sleaze-appeal in constant overdrive, one of the things that works is the film's portrayal of bad girls and how we will let them act as their own parodies of what is wrong with the wayward girls we've come to know in our horrors and thrillers.

The character of crippled old “Joseph” is limited to little more than grunting in front of the camera with lines not too much more substantial than: “Damned whores!” But he is never intended to be in focus for long. This movie is about the girls, and you've seldom seen such an unsophisticated attempt at making bad girls good.

I'll go so far as to say that El monstro del mar! is what Sucker Punch wished it could have been. This film does darn well what it sets out to do, rarely falling back to rely on grunge humor the way we'd expect it to, which is why we forgive its occasional splurges into cheese-dom. It is a worthy tribute to Jaws, Godzilla, Thelma and Louise, and so many shameful Japanese Sea Monster movies (and really any movie with hot girls kicking butt and taking names).

It takes some work to accept that in trying to portray “proud, hot, and deadly” with such a limited budget and just a huge desire to make a movie that it, in this case, worked! I feel immoral for wanting to root for it, but root for it I did—and do.

A smoking hot Kyrie Capri
 as "Hannah"
There will only be two schools of opinions with regard to this film; 1) “Who the fuck are they kidding?” and 2) “Oh, the girls!” If you can jump on the bandwagon of appreciating the latter, then way to go. If not, then, well, I'm sorry for the experience.

The bottom line: This piece of exploitation is done well, and with both vision and heart. Despite its grime, you have to give a nod of respect for that. And maybe Australia will prove to have a consistent knack for augmenting our noir-ish perceptions of young girls who dance on old cars.


Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…