Frightfest Glasgow: Monstrous (2022)

Director: Chris Sivertson

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Certification: 18

Starring: Christina Ricci, Santino Barnard, Don Baldaramos, Colleen Camp, Lew Temple, Carol Anne Watts, Peter Hodge, Nick Vallelonga

In the opening moments, Laura (Christina Ricci) wakes up her young son Cody (Santino Barnard) so they can go on a trip. The setting appears to be an idealised version of the 1950s, complete with appropriate music, as the mother-son duo drive to an idyllic and remote house. They're escaping from something horrific in their past, although the pair find another monster to deal with.

Ricci does excellent work in the lead role, capturing how Laura's attempts at putting on a happy face and teaching Cody through rhymes cannot mask the trauma lurking beneath. Trying to escape the source of her torment has left Laura struggling to cope, turning to alcohol amidst worries of how to protect her son, worsened by an unsettling monster which keeps frightening Cody.

Director Chris Sivertson captures an uncanny feeling that all isn't right, with the same HotPoint advert playing to highlight the era's idealised example of a wife. A terrific sense of foreboding is crafted as atmospheric music plays alongside interesting camera placement, be it in slow panning shots or the nightmares occurring below the water. What's created is an affecting story about guilt and confronting traumatic truths, anchored by a terrific lead performance from Ricci.

Monstrous played at Frightfest Glasgow