The road to Book of Monsters started back in 2017 with a Kickstarter campaign asking for funding and ended recently and triumphantly with the release of a 2-Disk Collector’s edition Blu-Ray and DVD truly proving that all you need is talent and determination to make a terrific horror film.
Directed by Stewart Sparke and penned by Paul Butler their previous collaborative feature The Creature Below stormed FrightFest 2016 but Book of Monsters is a very different beast indeed. Blending Buffy, Cabin in the Woods and The Evil Dead with a heavy slice of British humour it is a coming of age horror comedy that delivers action and gore in equal measure.
Opening in a flashback to the mysterious disappearance of her mother dragged under her childhood bed by something dark and terrible we quickly move forward and are introduced to Sophie (Lyndsey Craine) on the eve of her 18th birthday.
Unpopular at school due to rumours that she is mentally unhinged having spent time in a hospital after her mothers death, Sophie is determined to celebrate her initiation into adulthood in style organising a party with her best friends Mona (Michaela Longden) and Beth (Lizzie Aaryn-Stanton) at her remote home.
Taken over by the school bully who invites a ton of people Sophie doesn’t know, the party gets worse when a stripper shows up to embarrass the shy birthday girl who has a huge crush on fellow class mate Jess (Rose Muirhead).
However the unwanted adult entertainment is far from the worst thing to happen as a sinister woman arrives and steals the ancient book her mother always read to Sophie as a child unleashing six horrific monsters into her house to run rampant.
As carnage reigns and teens are slain, Sophie must muster up the courage and strength to battle the monsters and save her friends whilst also embracing her fate, a fate that is tied up not only to the putrid perpetrator of this chaos but also Sophie’s past pain and anguish.
Tons of fun from start to finish Book of Monsters does a heck of a lot with the limited budget spewing forth a barrel of gore and great effects to amuse and gross audiences out while also bringing to life some brilliant beasts for Sophie and her pals to battle.
From the skull faced Beast to the scythe wielding gas mask wearing slasher to the possessed garden gnomes to the J-Horror inspired Jinn all of the creatures are wonderfully designed and realised each referencing a different style of horror while not directly ripping anything off.
In fact the original Kickstarter campaign allowed contributors to not only select which monsters appeared in the final film but also which gruesome deaths, mysterious birthday present, horror trope that must die and weapon of last resort showed up too, shaping the film into its final incarnation by committee, a concept that not only hugely appeals to horror fans but works wonders here.
Huge credit must go to the cast who are all excellent especially Lyndsey Craine who leads the movie with confidence and charm creating an engaging and sensitive portrayal of a teenager battling demons both internal and external.
Combing a kick ass female forward cast with some superb creature design and plenty of very British tongue in cheek humour Book of Monsters is a hugely entertaining horror that shows innovative ideas and a talented creative team always win over big budgets and star power.
Bring the monsters home now with the Book Of Monsters 2-Disk Collector’s edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Dark Rift Films: www.darkriftfilms.com/shop