The Monster (2016 film)

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The Monster
The Monster poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBryan Bertino
Produced by
  • Bryan Bertino
  • Adrienne Biddle
  • Aaron L. Ginsberg
Written byBryan Bertino
Music byTomandandy
CinematographyJulie Kirkwood
Edited byMaria Gonzales
  • Atlas Independent
  • Unbroken Pictures
Distributed byA24
Release date
  • November 11, 2016 (2016-11-11) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$62,953[2]

The Monster is a 2016 American horror film written and directed by Bryan Bertino. It stars Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine. The film was released through DirecTV Cinema on October 6, 2016, before opening in a limited release on November 11, 2016, via A24.[3]


Kathy (Zoe Kazan) is driving her 10-year-old daughter Lizzy (Ella Ballentine) to her father's house as it's his turn for custody. Tired of taking care of her abusive, alcoholic mother, Lizzy makes it clear she wants to live with her father permanently. As night falls, Kathy hits a wolf with her car. However, its injuries look like they were sustained by an animal attack rather than their car. Because Kathy was injured in the collision, Lizzy calls a tow truck and ambulance.

The tow truck arrives and its driver, Jesse, begins working underneath the car. Lizzy notices that the wolf's body is missing and becomes frightened. Tired of bickering with Lizzie, Kathy gets out of the car to talk to Jesse but cannot find him. Suddenly, Jesse's severed arm lands on the hood of the car. In agony, Jesse crawls out of the woods, but before Kathy can help him, a monstrous creature drags him under the tow truck and eats him.

Attracted by the sound of music emanating from Lizzy's teddy bear, the monster attacks the car, dragging Kathy out. But before it can kill her, it is temporarily scared away by the approaching ambulance. As Kathy and Lizzie cower in the ambulance, the monster kills the EMT team. Kathy tries to drive away but when the monster attacks the ambulance, she swerves into the woods.

Kathy begins vomiting up blood and realizes she has internal bleeding that will likely kill her soon. Now aware that the monster is scared away by bright light, Kathy uses her lighter to make a torch and tells Lizzy her plan. She's going to run into the woods so the monster will chase her and Lizzy will run to the road to get help. She tells Lizzy she is the best thing in her life.

Thinking that Lizzy is running to the road, Kathy allows herself to be attacked by the monster. Lizzy, who has refused to leave, chases the monster away with the flashlight. Realizing her mother is dead, Lizzy uses a spray can from the ambulance and her mother's lighter to set the monster ablaze, then beats it to death with a large stick.

Lizzy remembers how, after a particularly hateful, alcohol-fueled encounter, Kathy had apologized and predicted that Lizzy would grow up to be a better person than she was. As the sun rises, Lizzy emerges from the woods.



In May 2014, Elisabeth Moss was announced to star in the film, while Bryan Bertino was to direct the film from a screenplay he also wrote. William Green and Aaron Ginsburg of Atlas Entertainment and Adrienne Biddle of Unbroken Pictures would serve as producers, while Richard Suckle and Sonny Mallhi would serve as executive producers.[4]

In May 2015, Zoe Kazan joined the cast, replacing Elizabeth Moss.[5] In August 2015, it was announced that Scott Speedman, Aaron Douglas and Ella Ballentine all joined the cast of the film.[6]

The film original title, There Are Monsters, was changed to The Monster in August 2016.[3]


Filming began in Ottawa, Canada in the summer of 2015.[5] Principal photography concluded on August 21, 2015.[7]


In May 2015, A24 acquired U.S distribution rights to the film.[8] In April 2016, the first image of Kazan's character was revealed.[9]

The film was released on the DirecTV Cinema platform on October 6, 2016. On November 11, 2016, the film was given a limited theatrical release simultaneously with its debut on other video on demand platforms.[10][11]

The film screened at the Beyond Fest on October 6, 2016,[12] the Tacoma Film Festival on October 7, 2016,[13] and the Sitges Film Festival on October 15, 2016.[14]

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 24, 2017.

Critical reception[edit]

The Monster received positive reviews from film critics. It holds an 80% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Monster uses its effectively simple setup and a powerful lead performance from Zoe Kazan to deliver a traditional yet subtly subversive -- and thoroughly entertaining -- horror story."[15] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 69 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]

Manohla Dargis, in her review for The New York Times, compared the film to other horror stories about "monstrous motherhood" released for art house and multiplex crowds, saying The Monster was "cleverly pitched somewhere in between." Of the two main actresses and their roles, Dargis noted "Ms. Kazan gives her lungs a workout, and while she’s more persuasive as a scream queen than as a mother, she and Ms. Ballentine get the job done."[17]


  1. ^ "Box office/business for The Monster". IMDb. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Monster". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Miska, Brad (August 3, 2016). "'The Strangers' Director's 'There Are Monsters' Dated Under New Title, 'The Monster'". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Kemp, Stuart (May 9, 2014). "Cannes: 'Mad Men's' Elisabeth Moss Signs on to 'There Are Monsters'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  5. ^ a b McNary, Dave (May 12, 2015). "Cannes: A24 Buys Zoe Kazan's 'There Are Monsters' for U.S." Variety. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Jayne Issac, Paulina; Ford, Rebecca (August 18, 2015). "Scott Speedman, Aaron Douglas Join Bryan Bertino's 'There Are Monsters' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "On the Set for 8/28/15: Keegan-Michael Key Starts on 'Don't Think Twice', Liam Hemsworth Wraps 'Independence Day Resurgence'". SSN Insider. August 28, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Kay, Jermey (May 12, 2015). "A24 acquires US on 'Remember', 'There Are Monsters'". Screen Daily. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Miska, Brad (April 22, 2016). "First Look at 'There Are Monsters,' From the Director of 'The Strangers'!". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  10. ^ Miska, Brad (September 14, 2016). "New Shots From Bryan Bertino's 'The Monster'". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  11. ^ Collis, Clark (October 5, 2016). "There's a beast on the loose in exclusive poster for The Monster". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  12. ^ "The Monster". Beyond Fest. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  13. ^ "The Monster". Tacoma Film Festival. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  14. ^ "The Monster". Sitges Film Festival. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  15. ^ "The Monster". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "The Monster". Metacritic. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  17. ^ Dargis, Manohla (November 10, 2016). "Review: Watch the Road, and the Driver, Too, in 'The Monster'". The New York Times. NYTimes Co. Retrieved May 27, 2017.

External links[edit]