THE MONSTER – Movie Review (Featuring an interview with Special Effects Maestros Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis!)



  • RELEASE DATE: In Theaters and on VOD November 11th (Available now on DirecTV)
  • WRITTEN BY: Bryan Bertino
  • DIRECTED BY: Bryan Bertino
  • STARRING: Zoe Kazan, Ella Ballentine, Aaron Douglas

-Reviewed by Daniel XIII

There is nothing I like more than a good ol’ creature feature: and one of the most promising new entries in that genre looked to be THE MONSTER (based solely on the trailer and that killer poster art the powers that be cooked up for the release). Well, recently I had a chance to check out the film, and I aim to tell ya if this thing has bite, or is a monstrous waste of time.

The narrative of THE MONSTER plays out as follows; when an alcoholic shit-heel of a mother and her daughter head out on the road their trip is cut short when they try to avoid colliding with a wolf in the middle of the road and in the process disabling their car. As the film progresses we see the ins and out of their ultra-dysfunctional, seemingly irreparable, relationship. Wait a minute; this is a monster movie, right?

Well, it turns out it definitely is as the titular creature devours the friendly tow truck driver that came to aid our heroines; then proceeds to stalk them…not to mention any one else foolish enough to get in its way.

Make no mistake; THE MONSTER is a character piece with the emphasis placed firmly on the mother – daughter relationship. The monster itself is nothing more than a roadblock for the pair ever achieving a state of normalcy. Speaking of the beast; he’s a solid gold winner of an effect; realized with a fantastic practical monster suit the thing could best be described as the unholy combination of a bear and a werewolf…simply suburb!

The only negative that I could find with this flick is that it takes a while (nearly 45 out of its 91 minutes) for it to get into the hot and heavy creature action; but the acting chops of the leads and the story around them is compelling enough to generate interest until we get to what all of us creeps go into these things for; monstrous mayhem!

Full of rock solid performances and creature design work; THE MONSTER is a new creature feature classic! Highly recommended!



Well, now that you know my thoughts on THE MONSTER, why not check out the chat I had with the creators of the film’s…monster…they made the monster; but not the film THE MONSTER…enough of this confusing horseshittery; here comes those titans of terror; Tom Woodruff Jr.and Alec Gillis!

DANIEL XIII: Give us the beastly basics on how you brought the creepy creature for the monster to life!

TOM WOODRUFF JR. The creature itself is a non CGI creation using traditional techniques of monster suit creation: Sculpture, mold making, foam rubber body suit and head skin. The suit performer wore the full body outfit and had an animatronic head on. 2 – 3 puppeteers outside the suit operated functions such as eyes, jaw, brows, cheeks.

DANIEL XIII: Any ass pains encountered bringing the monster to the screen?

ALEC GILLIS: This was a fun chance to create a character the old fashioned way. As such we were able to ply a craft we’ve been doing since the ‘80’s. This was less about being challenged and more about reveling in the opportunity.

DANIEL XIII: What creature features led to your desire to become special effects artists?

TW: As kids we grew up on movies like THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, PLANET OF THE APES, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Any chance to create a creature character is a rare one!

DANIEL XIII:    Since you have worked on so many iconic creatures in the horror biz; are there any mad monsters you are lookin’ to create for yourselves?

AG: We both have scripts we’re seeking to get off the ground. They’re genre films, so if we’re successful, hopefully your readers will see them. We’re attracted to any creature that has a strong character.

DANIEL XIII:   What projects are up next for you, and where can my Coffin Club keep up with ya?

TW: We’re currently working on Shane Black’s THE PREDATOR, and David Ayer’s BRIGHT. Follow us on Twitter/Instagram @alec_gillis, and @tom_woodruffr. Our youtube channel [has] tons of great BTS videos!

DANIEL XIII: Fangs guys!




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