‘Your Monster’ Movie Review: A Rom-Com with Horror Elements

Producer Kayla Foster introduced Your Monster at the Sundance London Film Festival, describing it as a romantic-comedy horror. While this may seem like an unusual combination of genres, this is truly the best way to define what the film is and what makes it utterly unique. Combining elements of the horror genre with a sweet love story, Caroline Lindy’s latest film is unlike anything else I have seen in recent years, and also incredibly funny. Its unique charm and humor appealed to audiences at film festivals. In fact, the film went on to win the Audience Award at Sundance London Film Festival after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah earlier this year. 

Melissa Barrera is Laura Franco in Your Monster

Starring an incredible Melissa Barrera as Laura Franco, the main actor in Lindy’s film, Your Monster begins in a hospital where Laura’s boyfriend Jacob (Edmund Donovan) breaks up with her as she is dealing with a cancer diagnosis, mirroring the director’s own life. Now that her life has fallen apart, Laura has to move back into her childhood home, where she finds an equally terrifying and charming Monster (Tommy Dewey) living in her closet. With Monster’s advice, Laura starts finding her voice as she auditions for the main role she helped create in a musical her ex-boyfriend is now directing. 

Your Monster sets the tone from the very beginning of the film with an opening sequence that welcomes us to the setting and tone of the story. The music is immediately established as one of the most important elements of the whole film. In fact, it accompanies us through every part of the story, from the title credits at the beginning to the final glorious and incredibly satisfying scene. I particularly liked how the performances were filmed in the movie as the camera movements transport the audience into the scene.

The fictional musical songs we hear in the film also gain meaning for the characters and, therefore, the audience as the story goes on. This is especially true for the final song, which easily gets stuck in your head and becomes very powerful: after hearing its melody for the entire movie, we finally get to witness this song in a powerful and exhilarating performance.

Your Monster as a satire of the theatre business

With its musical theatre elements, Your Monster is also a poignant satire and commentary of the theatre business. It is very fascinating, especially for the people in the audience who are familiar with musical theatre in some way, to see the way the play within the movie is being built. As the film goes on, the viewers get to witness the musical numbers come together rehearsal after rehearsal. Even more interestingly, the movie uses humour to portray the inherent problems within the theatre industry from the moment Laura loses the main part in a play she helped create to the unfair audition process that is probably more common than we could ever imagine. 

The romance in the story

As a romantic film, the main couple is essential to the entire film and, therefore, the audience’s emotional involvement with the characters. Even in a film that has werewolves and fantastic elements, Your Monster makes its romance incredibly believable and real. The chemistry between Barrera and Dewey is incandescent from the very first moment we see them on screen together, and their romance remains the heart of the film all along. Similarly, the acting is particularly impressive in this film: Barrera is especially good in such a layered role that allows her to show her acting range between comedy, emotional moments, dancing and singing numbers. 

The comedy element really stands out, which many rom-coms often forget about. With a premise that is anything but happy – after all, Your Monster begins in a hospital when Laura is probably at the lowest point in her lie – but the film manages to find humor and happiness even in the darkest of situations. In this sense, it is particularly fitting that before the film started at the Sundance London Film Festival, the producer encouraged all of us in the audience to laugh with the film. The comedy is also blended with horror and fantasy-like elements. As the movie goes on, the audience may pick up on the use of some familiar tropes, in a humorous and entertaining way, that we know and love, such as the idea of monsters hiding under the bed or in the closet.  

Final thoughts on Your Monster

Overall, Your Monster works really well as a magical realism film with successful elements of romance and comedy. It is a feel-good film that manages to be very funny but also particularly emotional, with a unique and memorable tone. The story is deeply rooted in a real-life situation, with its ups and downs, sad moments, and funny jokes, but the film also adds an interesting layer to its narration with the fantasy and horror adjacent element of Laura living with a monster. The premise is incredibly fascinating by itself, but the execution is even better thanks to the chemistry between the lead actors and fascinating performances by the entire cast. 

Your Monster recently screened at Sundance London.

You can learn more about the film at the Sundance  website for the title.

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