Director – Michael Davis
Cast – Eric Jungmann, Justin Ulrich, Aimee Brooks, Michael Bailey Smith, Joe Goodrich
Release Year – 2003
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I heard quite a few positive remarks about this film the last few years, which surprised me given it debuted a good 8 years ago back in 2003. After getting my hands on the DVD and finally giving this sneaky film a watch I can say that there is good reason behind the positive things I have heard about this flick. The story is unique and contains much cheeky material, and good direction resulting in awesome gore made this an enjoyable horror experience.
Adam embarks on a trip to the wedding of a girl he always loved but never told. His plan to profess his love to her before she walks the isle is jolted when his former best friend, Harley, forcefully tags along for the trip in order to patch things up between him and Adam. Little do they know, this trip of love/friendship reconciliation will soon turn to terror when a maniacal killer in an armored monster truck makes them his next target.
Well, I can say that I have yet to see a horror film involving a monster truck containing a ghastly killer, so this story gets props from me. We have seen similar films involving 18-wheelers chasing people off the road and stalking them, but the killers were not true monsters, so Monster Man really kicks things up a notch in regards to that. Writer/director Michael Davis(Shoot Em Up)’ story brings a fun and comical feel from the get-go, with Harley being the fat obnoxious friend with constant dick and fart jokes to pester the way-too-serious Adam as he tries to profess his love to a woman who preferred to be his best friend instead of his lover. This feel never relents throughout the film, making for a good beer-n-wings flick that will maybe disappoint if you are looking for a serious watch. I will admit that despite the high level of comedy I was not constantly amused, but I did suffer a few good laughs here and there, so for the most pat the comedy was enjoyable. It does not take long before the appearance of the monster’s monster truck(sounds cool huh?), and Davis used the truck to full potential. While I enjoyed the usage of the monster truck I was elated to see that we were going to get some scenes involving the monster out side of the truck, something I was unsure of until I saw proof. Even better, the monster’s abandonment of his truck was not short-lived, and we get some great stalk-and-kill sequences involving this ghastly creature that resulted in some darn good cheezy horror. There was one major fault that I found with the film, at first, and it involved the lack of horror throughout most of the second act. I felt that the story had completely abandoned the horror in order to accommodate a “love interest” element involving a hitch hiker the guy’s picked up, named Sarah, who takes a liking to the dorky Adam(much to the behest of Harley). While I found fault in this I admit that the third act not only completely made up for the lack of horror with its supreme awesomeness, but some of the elements that took place in the second act played a heavy role in what took place in the third act, so the lack of horror was in fact…justified.
Michael Davis did a great job with the film’s direction as well, employing great cinematography and crafty camerawork to execute the high speed scenes involving one of the coolest monster trucks I have ever seen. The look of it was great, especially its fortified body, and his ability to execute the chase and crash scenes provided good tension and loads of fun. Actors Eric Jungmann and Justin Ulrich were great as Adam and Harley, and the actors’ chemistry must have been dead on given how well these two characters worked together. I am sure a good amount of it has to do with the storyline, but good execution of the actors and positive performances are what sold them to me. Supporting actress Aimee Brooks was enjoyable as well, portraying the sexy and sensual Sarah to near-perfection, sure to please your been-n-wings night buddies, unless you ladies are watching this with your boyfriend. So how was the monster AKA the true star of the film? He was fantastic. His look was incredible, with a mangled face stitched together like a hack job backwoods nurse patched him up after a terrible accident, and his mannerisms were superbly creepy. Every time he walked and moved around he reminded me of Bub from Romero’s Day of the Dead, except without Bub’s kind charm. The gore and kills in this film are awesome, and Davis lays on the live-action gore in thick fashion, making this 2003 watch reminiscent of the zany and gory gems from the 70s and 80s.
Overall, Monster Man is a fun flick sure to please those of you looking for a cheezy and unique watch. The storyline is original, the comedy is high but not over-the-top, and the horror is great thanks to a superbly executed killer and buckets of awesome gore. Recommended.