Murder Me, Monster belongs to a particular subset of overly ponderous cinema; the kind of film that mistakes hushed voices and barren characterisation for ominous atmosphere, where whatever subtext may be swimming underneath the surface is devalued by utterly flaccid storytelling. It would be genuinely pointless to provide a synopsis, as it would give a false impression as to what to expect from the film.

Something about a headless woman being found, the prime suspect blames it on a monster. More people die, once again the idea of a monster is put forward. There might be an interesting concept in here, whether the monster is real or not, but that is discarded very early into the film due to the presence of some ropey CGI confirming that nope, it is indeed a real monster.

Said monster appears to have very little to do with the film however. In fact I’m not too sure if the film was about anything. There’s a stoic detective type on the case but I’m already overselling it: stoic would imply he has a character, when he (and every other ‘character’ for that matter) are little more than objects that gaze unknowingly into the distance and refuse to interact with each other like humans. It is purposefully vague.

What is maddening about this is that the film does not even lean into its own obfuscation. There’s certainly an avenue to be explored where the typical monster movie is subverted into a tonal piece, how oppressive atmosphere can be created via expressive use of sight and sound, yet it keeps proceedings on a tight leash. Despite thinness that would be a disservice to paper, the characters are at the centre of the film, and short of one singular moment of absurd wit (subsequently devalued by being repeated twice more over the course of the runtime) there is little to sink the teeth into.

The one saving grace is proficient filmmaking craft. Use of colour is bold in many scenes, the framing is striking and despite the overlong runtime, shot to shot editing is smooth and consistent. But what is it in service of? What could have been delirious, unnerving, provocative or even plain old interesting is instead monotonous and conceited.

A deliberately obtuse tale that would have been far better served as a twenty-minute short. Wasteful.

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