Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DOOM'D Review: El Monstro Del Mar! (2012)

Before I get started, let's check out the trailer quick.

Going into El Monstro Del Mar I had a few expectations. After first seeing the trailer and checking out the poster I had a very good feeling about this movie. Retro look, crazy old man, gang of psychotic women, a giant monster, what appeared to be all practical effects, and a chick with a shotgun. It looked like it would be gearing itself up as a 70s exploitation flick and then turn into a monster movie. Something along the lines of From Dusk til Dawn.

The thing is...it does all of that. It has everything in the previous paragraph. The story even progresses like that of From Dusk til Dawn but it still manages to...I hate to say it...disappoint. Maybe I had my expectations a little too high but this movie just didn't quite make the cut for me.

Here's why. So just imagine From Dusk til Dawn except its 3 crazy chicks and instead of vampires its the Kraken. The opening scene is FANTASTIC. It shows the girls' first murder of the movie. They bait, they switch, they slit throats. The thing that makes it so cool is that it's all in black and white...but the second blood hits the screen its ALL color. I thought that was not only really cool but added to the whole retro feel they're going for. Then they go to a nearby harbor to rest up for their next adventure. And here's is where the movie just hits a wall for 30 minutes. NOTHING interesting happens. In From Dusk til Dawn there's some tension when they hit the US/Mexico border and it has well written dialogue to move it along until its grand finale, this movie just has chicks drinking...and NOT getting naked. WWWHHHAAATTT??? Alright...so you can't afford nudity. That's ok. But I really feel with a movie like this one that's trying to have a big exploitation aspect to it, there's gotta be nudity. Somewhere. Anywhere. But whatever, that's ok. I can look past it. But there just isn't anything to care about in that 30 minutes. It just lost me. Now, if they would've spiced it up with the police hot on their tail for killing those dudes in the opening scene...THAT would've been worth it. Instead the movie builds up the legend of a monster from the sea that kills people in the town...and the whole time you're thinking, "If there's a giant monster eating your town WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?" And they tell the story like 3 times! (Alright already, I get it, giant monster. I'm going to get drunk now) But I guess it hasn't happened in a long time so whatever. Then in the last 15 minutes or so the monster shows up and kills everyone. FINALLY, this movie picks up. And I have nothing bad to say about the way this movie ends. The monster is cool, a giant Kraken with mouths on the ends of its tentacles. They rip and cut and tear heads off and bite and all kinds of cool stuff. The girls are trapped in their house when it attacks so they have to fight it off and they use all kinds of weapons: chainsaws, knives, whatever. It's all very cool and very exciting.

And why it works for me is because it's all practical effects. I have a huge appreciation for any movie that will take the time to build a working monster for their movie. They didn't skimp out on the giant monster either, they built a model and stuck with it. That is why even after all negative things I've said, I'd highly recommend this movie. The last 15 minutes is just awesome. It's like the first hour didn't happen. And I don't even care. And when a movie's only about 10 minutes over an hour, it's not a huge pain to sit through.

I guess you can view this movie as one giant build up. Here I am telling you there's a huge payoff at the end. All the stuff you are going to sit through will be gratuitiously rewarded by the end credits. (and what you're sitting through won't kill you either) If you look at it that way, then I think you'll enjoy this movie more than I did. I'm going to watch it again and I'm positive I'm going to like it more the second time. I understand this isn't a movie about exploitation so much as it exploits exploitation to carry it to it's finale. (Does that even make sense?)

El Monstro Del Mar, I say watch it. The chicks are pretty hot, they get into bikini's at one point. The monster is really fucking cool. The gore is good. The soundtrack is pretty awesome, all old school. The movie has a unique look to it. And when it comes down to it, these kinds of movies aren't very plentiful these days...so I say let's all get around it and support it. This is the director/writer's first full feature movie and for a total noob...he does a surprisingly decent job. I would love to see what else he can do. He's got the beginning and ending down pat, now he just has to work on the middle.

You can find El Monstro Del Mar on Amazon


  1. If you want to see absolutedly INSANE Australian 'exploitation', then Danger 5 is the way to go!...or at least it would if it was available to watch outside of Australia. It's an absurdist show about a special ops team (whose boss is a guy in a Number Six outfit and a bird's head!) and their efforts to foil Hitler's plans for world-domination, which involve nazi dinosaurs, japanese supersoldier robots and giant monsters, and diamond-studded bulletproof women! haha! It's heaps of fun and very funny!

  2. Speaking of boring middles, it reminds me of Tarantino's contribution to Grindhouse in the form of "Death Proof". It had a deliberately boring middle with the women sitting around talking and stuff and it ended up making the end and finale that much more exciting. I was literally cheering by the end : D

  3. I remember seeing the trailer for this a while back, and was interested. It'll be cool to finally check it out.