Monster Party (2018)

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From the director of the great post-apocalyptic thriller Drifter comes a dinner party you wish you never went to, with striking performances from the cast.

Casper, Iris, and Dodge are a trio of teenage thieves who spend their time breaking into random people’s house with Casper having the ability to unlock safes like nothing. However, when his father has a major gambling debt to a local club owner, who proceeds to beat his father within an inch of his life, Casper agrees to get the money. Lucky for them, Iris has a job lined up where she is to be a server at a very exclusive dinner party hosted by the Dawson family. She convinces Casper and Dodge to come in as fellow servers for her benefit.

As the dinner party commences, a young woman escorted by guest Milo quietly asks for help. Aside from the Dawson family and Milo are brothers Jeremy and Cameron as well as the very charismatic Ollie. However, when Casper infiltrates the lavish mansion and finds the safe, Dodge plays lookout. When Dodge is caught by son Elliot Dawson, a chain of events begin to transpire as who the Dawsons and the guests really are and it will be a miracle if anyone gets out alive by morning.

Chris Von Hoffmann, the force behind the underrated thriller Drifter has outdone himself this time around. Having a dinner party full of serial killers is quite an interesting concept with a trio of youngsters as the potential victims, who are not so nice themselves. In other words, there aren’t really any good guys in this film. Instead we have some the bad, the very bad, and the insane. Von Hoffmann’s script is exciting, well-paced, and brings many tropes of the horror genre. And hardcore horror fans will get to notice a reference as it pertains to one of the stars of the film.

Where Drifter relied on a cast of newcomers, Von Hoffmann upped the ante by bringing in an established cast this time around. Leatherface’s Sam Strike stands out as Casper, the young thief who is willing to do what it takes at first to get the money for his father’s gambling debt, only to have to survive the most insane night of his life. Joined by Marvel’s Runaways star Virginia Gardner and TV star Brandon Micheal Hall, they form the trio of potential victims to the insane dinner guests, led by Nip/Tuck star Julian McMahon with The Craft’s Robin Tunney as his wife, who seems to be unsure as to how to react to everything that goes on. Lance Reddick’s Milo is quite a charismatic figure who can scare the pants off of someone when he unleashes an icy cold stare that will make Derek Zoolander’s “Blue Steel” look nonexistent.

However, if there is a breakout character that has to be mentioned in this film, it’s Zac and Mia star Kian Lawley as son Elliot Dawson. It is clear that Lawley is a versatile actor with this being a tour de force for him film-wise as the very unhinged Elliot. It is Elliot who becomes the catalyst of the horrific events that plague the film because he needed to “let it out”. It also seems like from this and his previous work, Von Hoffmann perhaps has a liking to having a female character who is associated with the crazies but they are the opposite. In the case of this film is Erin Moriarty’s Alexis Dawson, who is only forced in the situation but somehow is willing to help the trio get through the night. However, Von Hoffman adds quite the twist to the plot that will make mouths drop and makes the film appropriately titled in a literal sense and not just a metaphorical sense.

Monster Party is definitely an insane horror film from Chris Von Hoffman and that is in a good way. He has outdone himself thanks to some great performances and the use of more practical effects, which always works nicely in these films.

WFG RATING: A-

RLJE Films presents a Dark Web production in association with Kodiak Pictures, Defiant Studios, Exhibit, and Automatik Entertainment. Director: Chris Von Hoffmann. Producers: Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Eric B. Fleischman, and Jesse Berger. Writer: Chris Von Hoffmann. Cinematography: Tobias Deml. Editing: Gehris Burnett Jr. and Joe Rosenbloom.

Cast: Sam Strike, Julian McMahon, Robin Tunney, Kian Lawley, Erin Moriarty, Virginia Gardner, Brandon Micheal Hall, Diego Boneta, Jamie Ward, Chester Rushing, Sofia Castro, Mickey Gooch Jr., Bill Engvall, Logan Huffman, Lance Reddick.

The film comes out in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on November 2.

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