Robert Morgan’s short film, Monsters, begins with what seems like a modern family dynamic; a single mother and two children who bicker a lot. It’s a common scenario which the majority of us have experienced, so it works well as a familiar narrative. But once the film scratches beneath the surface, we’re introduced to something a little more sinister.
What I love most about the film is how Robert Morgan builds up the growing tension between brother and sister. Dan (the main character) has very little dialogue in the film, drawing similarities to Danny from The Shining, whereas his sister speaks more frequently and is often very spiteful towards him, even going so far to threaten to beat him in with a baseball bat while he sleeps.゠One of the films most intriguing features is it’s use of sound, and how the lack of it is used to build up the growing tension in the household. Any sound effects are stark and essential, and the tension just doesn’t let up.
Morgan clearly understands the horror genre, he uses the basic conventions confidently, playing wuth paranoia and the classic ‘let’s endanger some children’ narrative. Morgan is relentless at this, tipping his hat to the likes of Friedkin, while injecting his own creepy puppet-like characters so prominent in his other films.
After a single viewing, Monsters left me feeling bereft, I had to go back and watch it a couple more times to appreciate it, which is a testament to how provoking the film really is. A good horror film is much more than a bucket of blood and a few flying limbs, it attacks your fears and paranoia, using your prejudices and familiarity with the genre against you. Monsters is one of those good horrors.