It’s the 1950’s and everything is bright, clean and shiny. Laura (Christina Ricci) and her young son, Cody (Santino Barnard) are on the run. They end up in rural California and try to start a new life in a big house. Things are great at first, but after Cody goes for a walk down by the lake, weird stuff starts to happen. Laura finds a job and Cody starts school, but he really wants to go home. Laura is doing the best she can to give Cody a great new life.

Cody on the other hand is not adjusting to this new house, especially when he meets “The Pretty Lady” who lives in the lake near the house. Laura is not having any of his imaginary friend shenanigans and dismisses the whole thing. Eventually, Laura starts noticing strange things happening in the house, that she can’t explain. It will take a phone call from her mother at the worst possible time to bring her back to reality and guide her back to where she needs to be.

People deal with trauma in different ways. Sometimes they deal with their problems head on and some regress and go into a fantasy world where they have total control of their lives. Regressing into a fantasy and making the world around you quiet is not healthy and won’t allow you to move on, it’s not until you’ve lost complete control that it can give you the kick in the butt you need to be happy.

Director Chris Sivertson gets a stunning performance from Christina Ricci in this psychological thriller. She’s a mom doing the best she can in a world that doesn’t feel familiar. Damaged by trauma and unable to deal with the world around her, Ricci brings to Laura a sensitivity that instantly gets you on her side and wants to see her become a perfect mother. While at certain points Monstrous does feel like a Lifetime movie that was co-produced by Shudder, mixed with some aspects of a micro-budgeted college film (mainly due to some janky sound), everyone on screen looks like they’re having fun.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

In Theaters and On Demand May 13, 2022

Reviewed May 9, 2022 (screener provided by publicist) Rating: PG-13. Running time: 89 min. 

PRODUCTION: A Screen Media Films release of a Burning Sky Films, Willow Pictures, Tip-Top Productions, Red Coral Productions, Scarlett Pictures, Skipstone Pictures, Umbrelic Entertainment production, in association with Snakebyte Productions and Entertainment Group. Producers: Johnny Remo, B.I. Rosen, Sasha Yelaun & Robert Yocum. Executive producers: Ameer Abdullah, Craig Albrecht, Reid Carpenter, Galen Christy, Debbie Cooper, Peter C. Cubba, Cristina Dam, Cameron Davies, Clay Epstein, Dylan Flashner, Adam Goldworm, Ben Good, Mike Hatton, Brian Katz, Rob McGillivray, Larry Meistrich, Omer H Paracha, Sean Reilly, Christopher Seo, Adam Sigal, Mark A. Silba, Ben Stranahan, Saud Al Thani, Scott Valentine, Galen Walker & Thomas Zambeck.

CREW: Director: Chris Sivertson. Writer: Carol Chrest. Editing: Anjoum Agrama. Cinematography: Senda Bonnet. Music: Tim Rutili.

CAST: Christina Ricci, Santino Barnard, Don Baldaramos, Colleen Camp, Lew Temple & Carol Anne Watts.

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