Monday, February 06, 2012

El Monstro Del Mar and A 400' Fish Tale: A Movie Review

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*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by Breaking Glass Pictures.

Director/writer: Stuart Simpson.

Cast: Norman Yemm, Nelli Scarlet, Kyrie Capri, Karli Madden, Kate Watts, Scott Brennan, Steven Stagg, and David Gannon.

El Monstro Del Mar, or for non-Spanish speakers Monster of the Sea, is the latest horror feature from Breaking Glass Pictures on DVD. The film can be summed up as three murderous babes versus a monster of the deep and the film is similar to '60s grindhouse or Tarantino's early work. The visual style from director Stuart Simpson is diverse and exciting with El Monstro Del Mar one of the wildest features to come across this desk in a while.

The story is simple, but this is still a fun watch. At the start, the film is in black and white and three tattooed vixens wait by the side of the road in a ploy to attract unwary men into their honey trap. Once they arrive, the men are diced up quickly and their ride is hijacked. Now these murderesses must find a place to lay low and quickly they find a quiet seaside town. It is quiet here because most of the local populace have been eaten up by a creature from the sea. The monster is twenty stories tall and the final fight is full of flailing tentacles and bouncing boobs. This is the b-movie genre at its best!

Central to the story is Beretta (Nelli Scarlet) a tough as nails leader who knows how to sneer and how keep her girls happy. Blondie (Karli Madden) is one of the hench(wo)men and she has a mastery of the sharp blade. Snowball (Kate Watts) is the sexiest of the trio and her ability to slice and dice is not enough to save her from this beast of the sea. On the periphery are Hannah (Kyrie Capri) and her grandfather. These two are locals and both have lost family to the sea creature. They will get a chance at redemption when the beast rises once again fifteen years after its first appearance.

That creature is generally shown in CGI or with green screen. It all looks realistic and so does Simpson's capture of the action. Characters wear surreal face paint and revolve around the camera to represent a drunken night of partying. Earlier, the black and white screen changes to colour as blood splatters across the screen and the windshield of a '60s era car. Simpson tries long shots, jump cuts, low angles and the visual sphere is always interesting. Simpson also uses his experience in cinematography to capture many of Australia's more beautiful sites. The film is a pleasure to view.

EL Monstro Del Mar is a little short in runtime at seventy-six minutes, but each minute is full of action or interesting interaction. The music is in the style of rock-a-billy or that of the '60s and the film's tone shifts from comedy to horror in a flash. El Monstro Del Mar cannot be recommended enough to fans of the unique or to horror fans who like a few laughs with their cinema. This is quality B-moviemaking. Possibly open to a sequel, this film manages to blend sexiness with a few thrills to keep the story compelling and maybe even a little Amazonian.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 (short in story, interesting characters, a strong visual style, great make-up, some gore and a few twists).

The film's fan page is here:

El Monstro Del Mar on Facebook

A second review of this film at Cine Mania (Kami):

El Monstro Del Mar at Cine Mania

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