There is a Monster Image

There is a Monster

By Terry Sherwood | January 31, 2024

COMING TO THEATERS! True psychological horror is very tough to make a reality for an audience.   Material such as the Robert Wise directed The Haunting, The Innocents with Deborah Kerr, and today’s films like The Babadook get lost in the maelstrom of jump scares and gore. One of the greatest powers many Monsters hold is the power of disbelief or denial that they exist until it is too late. Taking the psychological impact of a subtle belief that is devasting, adding a dose of denial, and turning it slightly on its head, you have Mike Taylor Written and directed There is a Monster.

The story is a simple one yet devastating as the film follows Jack (Joey Collins), a successful photographer whose life takes a turn after an encounter with a presence.  Jack is a the top of his game in many ways except his loveless marriage in which his wife Carol (Ena O Rourke) lives with him after he had a dalliance with a photography model. Dismissing the ghostly dark figure as a hallucination brought about by a celebratory night after getting large contact with his friend David (Marcellus Bassman Shepard) and tequila. Jack’s world unravels when he spots the elusive “monster” outside his bedroom window. The entity staring at Jack from the wood remnant of Michael Myers below the window and hedges in the original Halloween haunts his dreams, and Jack’s reality begins to warp.

Jack experiences a series of attacks, such as falling when jogging, which he attributes to the relentless monster.  Damage to his body becomes increasingly real, Losing the ability to work and speak clearly. His wife and best friend question his sanity, wondering if he is losing his mind. The attack persists until Jack cannot work, yet it brings both him and his wife closer to a pitiful reconciliation.

“Jack’s world unravels when he spots the elusive ‘monster’ outside his bedroom window.”

All the actors are superb in their characterizations and limited sets. Joe Collins and Ena O Rourke all come from strong acting backgrounds, and it shows in the roles of Jack and Carol. In many ways, this would make a good ‘two-handed’ theatre production.  The leads in the film have worked in theatre, which I have always said makes for a ‘better actor’, some understanding of truth, subtlety, and delivery of lines.   The best moments are when Jack is so pitiful yet beseeching into the camera and audience. Strong moments when they proclaim their love, their regret for the past, and the utter desolation of not knowing what to do.

Is it a monster that Jack says he is being attacked by or debilitating madness? Tapping in perfectly with those people who denied they had COVID or its existence as some form of control while being intubated and later dying of the disease, There is a Monster strikes a very subtly unquiet chord,  The sense that people often fight subtle private personal wars in their family from addictions, mental health, and other things so horrific and so personally devastating that the mind switches off in the comfort of denial that can often lead ‘ echo chamber beliefs’, simplistic answers, outlandish conspiracy theories to sell t-shirts and most importantly to unfortunate long term events and consequences for themselves and family.

Jack does not get his Alec Guinness moment from The Bridge on the River Kwai when Colonel Nicholson looks up at the bridge wide-eyed realization proclaiming, ‘What have I done’. The most horrific part of There is Monster is that at one time, we all felt this way or know someone who has felt like Jack in the film.  Is this a monster afflicting Jack? That will be up to the audience to decide.  Will Jack be able to unravel the truth behind the monster, or is it a figment of his imagination pushing him to the brink?

There is a Monster (2024)

Directed and Written: Mike Taylor

Starring: Joey Collins, Ena O'Rourke, Jesse Milliner, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

There is a Monster Image

"…The story is a simple one yet devastating as the film follows Jack (Joey Collins), a successful photographer whose life takes a turn after an encounter with a presence."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Thomas Holman says:

    As someone who recovered from a debilitating stroke, I immediately sympathized with Jack’s dilemma. The sense of an otherworldly presence is powerful in these moments of our lives. I was unable to speak coherently and couldn’t walk for several days. The doctors told my wife to start the paperwork for a disability retirement from the DOE in NYC, where I worked. It was a rough few days, and I’ll never forget the feeling that somebody else was doing this to me.

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon