Simple in title and plot, Bryan Bertino's The Monster packs its punch in the dysfunctional mother/daughter dynamic. Zoe Kazan & Ella Ballentine offer up some deeply impressive acting, especially for a genre piece. Careful pacing coupled with pivotal flashbacks along the way allow us to see an effective emotional arc between the two. Their scars ultimately form their familial bond. And while the slow burn lets the characters grow on you, it does take some time to reach the story's conflict. The titular monster is the model of simplicity. The brooding beast rarely overstays its welcome on screen. The few fierce, fleeting moments are enough to convey its threat. A little overshadowed by the dramatics, The Monster still scores as a thrilling creature feature.
3½ FUCK YOUs out of 5