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Murder Me, Monster

****
2018

‘…will please genre fans who are looking for something scary and original; it’s got a poetic sensibility and a sense of menace…’

You can’t beat a good monster movie, even if the title does feel like it should be read in a camp, Larry Grayson voice. But there’s no time for any levity in Alejandro Fadel’s amusingly serious folk-horror genre flick, which unfolds with studied, stately gravitas before unveiling a monster that’s….odd to say the least. It’s new on the Anti-Worlds imprint, and it’s probably the most commercial movie they’ve released to date; weird and wonderful, yes, but also rotting meat and drink to the horror crowd.

This is an Argentinian film, the setting is the Andes, and the mountains form a specific shape; the three M’s of the title. “Murder Me, Monster’ is a phrase used by victims of a strange thing that’s lurking in the countryside, decapitating victims with a jagged, prehensile tail that works like Scooby Doo’s. Victor Lopez plays Cruz, a police officer who is trying to solve the murders, and the death of his lover Francisca (Tania Casciani) only strengthens his resolve. Her husband knows more than he says, and soon Cruz’s beat is taking him off the beaten track and into a strange world of…geometry?

One character speculates that the creature is a ‘receptive telepath’ but that’s about all the explanation you get in Murder Me, Monster. Other questions are raised. Why does the policeman repeatedly indulge in slow-motion dad-dancing? Is there actually any such thing as a ‘fear of being afraid’? What does the phrase ‘my words are in a ditch?’ mean? The monster itself is not happy, and is described as ‘an aching monster, a tired monster.’ So what’s wrong with it? I’m trying as hard as you are to figure this one out.

If these questions sound like incoherent babbling, then that’s what a film like Murder Me, Monster reduces you too. Like Battle in Heaven or Post Tenabres Lux, this is a sinister, meditative movie that will please genre fans who are looking for something scary and original; it’s got a poetic sensibility and a sense of menace that not even the monster’s strangely comic final appearance can dispel. ‘It’s like those nightmares you’re afraid to remember in the morning’ notes one character, and they’re right. Like a bad dream, Fadel’s film doesn’t make much literal sense, but reaches back to something primal, and is easy to recommend for anyone in the mood for a slow-burning, proper scary watch.

MURDER ME MONSTER IS RELEASED IN THE UK & IRELAND FROM 4THDECEMBER 2020

Thanks to Anti-Worlds and Zoe Flower for access to this film.

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    • I’m not sure if that says something about you, this film, or both. But if you don’t like the monster at the end, don’t blame me…

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