4th December 2020 (UK VOD Premiere)
Rural police officer Cruz investigates the bizarre case of a headless woman's body found in a remote region by the Andes Mountains. David, the husband of Cruz's lover Francisca, becomes the prime suspect and is sent to a local mental hospital. David blames the crime to the inexplicable and brutal appearance of the "Monster." Cruz stumbles on a mysterious theory involving geometric landscapes, mountain motorcyclists and a mantra stuck in his head: Murder Me, Monster.
Victor Lopez, Esteban Bigliardi, Tania Casciani
Alejandro Fadel’s opaquely offbeat Murder Me, Monster sees Detective Cruz (newcomer Victor Lopez, who I sincerely hope finds his smile in his next project) investigating a spate of gruesome murders in which the victims – all women – have been decapitated. One incident in particular hits close to home for Cruz; his illicit lover Francisca (Tania Casciani) has been found sans la Cabeza.
Suspicion naturally falls on Francisca’s husband, David (Esteban Bigliardi). He does himself no favours by claiming ‘a monster’ committed the crime. He’s taken to a mental hospital for his, and indeed the larger community’s, safety. But with the alleged culprit apprehended, the headless torsos continue to appear. Cruz and his team must race against time to find who – or what – is behind these macabre murders.
I used the phrase ‘race against time’ there. If only that were true. Murder Me, Monster is as pacey as the movement of tectonic plates. Which would be fine if I had any inkling of what was going on. But it is so deliberately surreal that I found it to be a real chore for a good portion of its near 2-hour runtime. Blind motocross bikers, pill-popping Policeman, massively outdated methods of media playback through chunky USB sticks. All present, correct and mind-melting.
More established publications have compared Murder Me, Monster to the surreal work of David Lynch. I can see the similarities in a way, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. It isn’t helped by an completely passive lead in Cruz. Devoid of any real emotion, it is physically impossible to connect with Cruz in any way. He’s a great dancer, though. Some laughs are provided by Jorge Prado’s peculiar Capitan character too. The whole force appear to be fuelled by anti-depressants and alcohol. Maybe that gives you an idea of the kind of tone you’ll find in Murder Me, Monster.
Early on, it’s revealed through one of the kills being conducted by a tooth-encrusted tail that there is in fact a monster present. But Fadel sure does make you wait for the big reveal. Astonishingly, against all odds and the wholly distinctive show that precedes its appearance, it still manages to impress and disgust in equal measures. It’s a beast unlike anything you’ve seen before, or likely ever want to see again. It just about makes Murder Me, Monster worthy of a recommendation, simply for its one-of-a-kind (and refreshingly practical effects) design. However, any notion of the film being taken seriously, something which I’m still unsure as to whether it’s all one big joke and I wasn’t in on the punchline, goes right out the window when we eventually lay eyes on… whatever this thing is. The overall gore effects are notably great too, but its nudity of middle-aged men can only be described as gratuitous.
So while there’s very little meat on the bones of Murder Me, Monster‘s story, by holding back on its centrepiece it does succeed in generating a mythical mood and atmosphere. The picturesque and deserted landscapes go a long way in helping to accomplish this too. So if a nonsensical, potentially metaphorical but undeniably grisly tale of a monster lurking in the mountains appeals to you, Murder Me, Monster is a killer choice for an evening’s entertainment.
Murder Me, Monster is now available to rent on Digital Platforms and is released through Anti-Worlds Releasing.
Drips with atmospheric dread
Monster is one of the most uniquely freakish creations of modern horror
Tedious slow pace and deliberately cryptic imagery certainly won't be for everyone
Wholly unlikeable lead due to stony-faced response to, well, everything