I have seen several titles from Trash Arts, the production company behind Monstrous Disunion, with a few of them being reviewed here at Film Threat. While nowhere near their entire catalogue, of what I have viewed, this eerie, black-and-white feature is, without a doubt, their most accomplished, engaging, and horrific. For one, while primarily a single-set location (the Baker residence), Batchelor’s direction keeps the tension high as Mason-Bell’s cinematography makes every shadowy nook and cranny something to be feared. The way the camera creeps up the stairs, as you wait to discover which character, if any, just changed into a pig or not, will have you on the edge of your seat.
Another reason everyone watching is so riveted is that the characters are well-drawn and interesting. Even when they argue, it is made clear that Mark loves Maddy, so when one of them changes, it is more than just a creepy transformation. While some of the dialogue is a bit too on the nose, most of it sounds believable. Plus, there are some great moments of levity, mainly from Anne, which help things not to become too unbearably oppressive.
“…accomplished, engaging, and horrific.”
The cast is great across the board. Payne plays the worn down Mark with the right mix of gruffiness and charm. As Pete, Mellish is very creepy, with one sequence in a bedroom sees him go from desperate to anger, and he excels at both. As friends, Waldon-Day and Robertshaw have nice chemistry, so when Maddy tries to save Jas from her crazy family (as they blame her for the pandemic), it makes sense.
Of course, in a film about monsters, such as Monstrous Disunion, the look of the creatures is highly important. The pig heads, created by Katie Johnson and Charlotte Griffin, look fantastic considering the budget. While it is not quite Wild Boar territory, this is not too far behind. The textures and details are high, and the pigs do look feral, adding to the animalistic nature of what (possibly) sparks the change. However, the mouth movements when they are squealing and yelling are quite stiff. But that is a minor issue overall.
Monstrous Disunion is full of engaging characters brought to life by an excellent cast. The direction and look of the film make for an unnerving yet absorbing watch, as you will be invested in who is becoming a pig. Couple that with some decent effects and an intelligent, contemporary script, and you get something that demands to be seen as soon as possible.
"…demands to be seen as soon as possible."