March 8, 2014
Doug Jones as: Dr. Lincoln
Kane Hodder as: Lou
Michael McShane as: Slavko
Shawn Weatherly as: Marianna
Heather Raw Young as: Brandi
Gena Shaw as: Marla
Marissa Skell as: Carla
Two little girls, Carla and Marla, are with their family on a vacation, when an accident occurs that kills their dad in front of their eyes. Cut to the present, both sisters are now grown up and beautiful and are headed to a very corny tourist trap for a vacation. The themes of the place are America and Bigfoot. Carla (Marissa Skell) wants to surprise her fiancé, who works there as one of its’ many Bigfoot mascots. Meanwhile, Marla (Gena Shaw) really just wants to have some a good time. Things don’t go so well for Marla who keeps striking out when it comes to the guys she meets at this dump.
In the meantime, the Bigfoot mascots of the place, led by Lou (Kane Hodder), fall into a pond filled with toxic waste. They soon become flesh hungry monsters and among them is Carla’s boyfriend. They go on a bloodthirsty rampage killing and eating all in the way. Carla is separated from the group as she went to surprise her boyfriend, only to get a horrible surprise herself when he tries to eat her! She is saved by loner Chester (Hugo Armstrong) and together with the only “Bigfoot” not mutated they try to get back to place where her sister is at. Marla is, of course, understandably concerned that her sister hasn’t come back yet. Soon they will do all that is necessary for those that they love.
If I had to describe Love in the Time of Monsters in just one word it would be: fun! It is the very definition of a highly entertaining film. There isn’t a single ounce of mean-spiritedness in it. This despite the fact that it opens up with the offscreen murder of two children’s dad, but even this is done for laughs not for cruelty’s sake. It maintains a light and enjoyable spirit throughout its’ duration. Thus it is one of those horror films that you can watch on a bad day, and it will make things feel all the better for you.
For the most part, director Matt Jackson keeps the pace moving rather nicely. He very aptly mixes horror and humor. This is something that very few filmmakers can do effectively; even though many think that they can. He is aided greatly by working with what amounts to a very fine script by Michael Skvarla. The dialogue is smart and witty but never in way that becomes annoying.
In fact, here the dialogue adds to the humor and really makes the movie even funnier. Some of the most laughter inducing moments come simply from what the characters are saying to each other. The laughs also come from the increasingly wild and crazy situations that are occurring to the characters. The movie keeps escalating and getting more and more over the top. In some ways, it feels like a really crazy videogame where the challenges to our heroes get increasingly harder and more difficult for them to deal with.
If you were pondering whether or not this is in anyway a parody of the novel Love in the Time of Cholera, it’s only so in the title not the actual story. That said, its ingenious title comes well into play in the themes of the story. But, it is not just in reference to romantic love but family love as well, with everything handled with tongue placed firmly in cheek. The story wraps up with an amazing climax, though I was a bit concerned with it ending in an unsatisfactory manner. The parting shot thankfully stopped that from happening and give us one awesome, final laugh.
Also quite good is the acting. Everyone does a fine job here giving very lively performances. Both of the films lovely stars, Gena Shaw and Marissa Skall, are just great in their lead roles as the two sisters. Not only do they provide us with pleasant eye candy, but they have great chemistry not just with each other but with the rest of the cast as well.
Horror fans will love to see Kane (Friday the 13th pts. 7-10) Hodder as the de facto leader of the monsters, who also manages to gain electrical powers. His climactic battle at the end could become the stuff of cult legend! Another horror favorite, Doug (Hellboy 1&2, Pan’s Labyrinth) Jones, is truly incredible and as the wonderfully fun character of Dr. Lincoln, the scientific brains of our group of heroes. But, my favorite character is the badass Chester excellently portrayed by Hugo Armstrong. The rest of the cast is nicely rounded out with a hilarious performance by hottie redhead Paula Rhodes as the sister’s friend Agatha, a fun performance by Danny Vasquez as Marla’s potential love interest Armando, blonde bombshell Heather Rae Young who gives us a much appreciated topless scene in the lively role of Brandi, and everybody else in the movie.
So, we’ve got solid directing, a great script, acting, and even boobs, but “how is the gore and makeup FX?” you ask. Well, I am here to tell you that it is actually quite good. The over the top splatter FX are realistically and nicely handled by Carrie Hash. They include: heads and arms getting ripped off, cannibalism, guts getting thrown around, face melting, splattering blood, bloody gushing bullet wounds, and more. In all, the gore hits an easy 9 or 10 on the splatter-meter. Some of the mechanical FX are endearingly cheesy looking, add to the movie’s charm.
That all being said there are times that there is a teensy bit too much exposition. Perhaps trimming down just a few miniscule minutes might have helped the film. Since, at times it breaks up and slows the pacing too much. The movie also reminded me a little of last year’s Zombeavers, but not in a way that hinders or hurts this film that much. In fact, that might make a good companion piece to this movie, as I think they would work great as a double-feature.
Funny, hilarious, and gory, Love in the Time of Monsters is a movie that just hits the spot. Done in the feel of movies like Slither and Shaun of the Dead, it mostly succeeds at what it sets out to do. Aside from being a solid horror comedy, it is also the best Bigfoot movie since Dear God No!, and as such it is vastly superior to last year’s Willow’s Creek. Love has played some festivals and screenings and is reportedly heading to DVD in the next few months. When it does, I highly recommend you check it out. I guarantee that you will have one hell of a time.