Life is indeed a fragile reality. Taking it for granted, forgetting about its main value – here and now, much is postponed for later. Completely forgetting that this future for someone may not come at all.
At times, a person is faced with the realities of reality, which he refuses to accept. A strong emotional shock, after which it will never be possible to return to the previous course of life. Point of no return. It involuntarily makes a person avoid the reality that follows. One of the most stressful situations is death. The loss of a loved one is an incident due to which consciousness can be blocked, thinking can change, giving rise to mental disorders. Mental illness is characterized by a violation of clinically important cognitive functions, sensory regulation in human behavior. Naturally, it is accompanied by a surge of emotions or serious multifunctional disorders.
With a similar problem and its development, we are introduced to the film created in 2022 by director Chris Sivertson – “Monstrous”. The chosen slogan for the film “The past can drag you to the bottom” reveals and emphasizes the main idea of the script. After all, nothing else, the past is hard to forget. You can save others from it, hide it, hide it, lie, but you can’t get away from it yourself. It becomes an integral part of us. And of course it affects the rest of your life.
The whole plot of the film is built on contrast. Showing opposites of real events. In the center of the unfolding plot is a young mother, she is lovely – Laura, and her seven-year-old son – Cody, who, being in the 50s, move to a new house. To the place that has now become theirs. This is the house where Laura spent her childhood, living with her grandmother. Beautifully finished house, located in a small outback, with a good second floor view of the beautiful lake landscape. Before us is a detailed, thought out to the smallest detail interior, which does not immediately make you think about its authenticity. From the first minute we believe that this is the reality in which the heroes are. But we are given a chance to think, because at times this beautiful shell collapses and something begins to emerge that does not fit into the plot of a prosperous family life.
The key to further development is the chosen genre – horror, drama. There are several semantic directions of the storyline: showing the internal relationships of a married couple – in conflict. Endless calls, resounding uncharacteristically loud, across the time and development of the film. Where from the dialogue it is clear that in front of the main character someone is begging for forgiveness. They ask you to come back and not make mistakes. Mom’s efforts to do everything for the happiness of her son. Caring for a child, going to school, celebrating a birthday, building a relationship between her son and his peers. What is alarming because of the reaction of the surrounding people who do not fit into the main plot line. Laura’s excessive friendliness. A job where everyone is so nice and kind to the main character. Really hated by her, she scares her. And finally, the contrast – hidden vices, not characteristic of the ideal image of a woman who is married, which, although cracked at the seams. Anger, anger, fear, panic attacks, drinking alcohol, quick mood swings – from sweet and caring to an angry monster that can harm even his own son, but for some reason does not repel him.
The meaning of the movie Monstrous
It is worth considering what they want to convey to us through this versatility of the image? A person is not divided into good or bad, it is common for everyone to have two sides of the coin. External beauty, friendliness and activity hides the reverse side – despair, anger and hopelessness. Manifested through a surge of anger, hallucinations that speak of great mental trauma.
Horror film. But what is his horror? Mystics are added to the plot by a monster that appears from the depths of the lake. It is it that helps to show the first hints of the unreality of the scenery. It is like an ax that is trying to break through the wall of external well-being. The son quickly finds a common language with the monster, introducing him to the “Beautiful Lady” who will take him home. This is not a banal plot twist, characteristic of all horror films. Not immediately understanding why Cody falls into his clutches so easily. The child struggles to persuade his mother to talk to the monster. Indicates that it will not harm her, but rather explain to her the reasons for what is happening. Another mystical line appears before us – Laura’s grandmother, who saw spirits. The boy finds exactly the image of his grandmother in the monster’s face. His mother, on the other hand, associates him with an entity that will forever take away her son.
In the subsequent development, we understand that Laura is trailing guilt, she herself begins to doubt what is happening. Everything around is gradually destroyed. Revealing all the imperfection of what is happening.
It turns out that everything around is just a figment of the imagination, a deep disorder. Much of the film is a display of psychological trauma experienced under a terrible weight of guilt. Laura’s mind finds a loophole in Cody and Grandma’s face, projecting salvation and relief from her shoulders. Laura is not able to cope with this pain alone, trying her best to get out of her agony. She is unable to cope on her own. And her psyche, rewarding her sick imagination, creates the image of an evil monster who wants to take away her pain from her. But out of habit, she still resists. It turns out that the horror lies not in the appearance of the monster, but in the terrible events of the past. Where is her son – Cody, inadvertently drowning in the pool.
The scenery is crumbling. Laura sees a house that once belonged to her grandmother. It is old, rickety, rotten, practically uninhabitable. It is in such an environment that she sees her son and understands that he does not belong here, that he is the embodiment of her guilt. That is why Cody patiently tries to convince her that he does not belong here. Tries to explain that “Beautiful Lady” should take him home. He does not at all rush to where he came from with his mother, or to his father, he has no place either in her fictional world, not in her reality. It is important for him to convince that what happened was not her fault.
With a terrible hysteria and barely realizing what is happening, Laura on her own, by the hand with her son, with her inner pain, comes to the shore of the lake. Glimpses of despair force her to switch her perception, and she finally sees the same beautiful lady in front of her – her grandmother. Laura, not for herself, but for the sake of her son, lets him go. The spirit goes into the depths of the lake with the child, symbolizing calm. Now everything should fall into place. Through her fear, despair, guilt, through the play of imagination, Laura manages to let go of her suffering a little.
The name “Monstrous” here does not have a direct meaning. The main monster of the film is the feeling of guilt. Horror can penetrate deep into the consciousness, violating the mind of a person. Internal fears, taking possession of us, push us to terrible deeds. A worm of guilt to eat from the inside. On his own, a person cannot always defeat his inner demons. These phenomena are inexplicable. But still, they helped the heroine, who leaves this house, already perceiving herself in the reality in which she is. Experiencing relief and inner pain of loss, realizing it already entirely with your being.