Good for South Korea.  I'm just saying.  They seem to have their shit together.  Hours ago, I was watching Korean baseball, and I must say, I'm getting into their league.  The KBO was the first sporting association to galvanize their troops, so to speak, after COVID-19 adjourned the planet.  As far as films are concerned, South Korea has been releasing some of the most original genre content around for two decades now.  I haven't seen...well, most of it.  Thankfully, Shudder carries a coffinload of K-horror.  2018's Monstrum is right up my alley, which is to say, it features a giant monster.  We are set in the 16th century.  The Joseon dynasty is in power, and before you even ask, yes, this was my second favorite Korean dynasty.

Scores of cadavers are piling up.  A number of the bodies are ripped to fuck (that's a colloquial way of saying "ripped apart"), while others are diseased and dappled in virulent boils.  Meanwhile, the dubious prime minister assembles a team of men to ascertain and ultimately eliminate the root cause.  Other things happen, but that's all you need to know.  The viewer follows a warrior and those close to him.  We spend a substantial amount of time with these peeps before we spy a speck of monster flesh.  This actually works in the film's favor, as the dialogue is well-written and the characters are grounded.  There is comic relief, but it doesn't get out of hand.

Monstrum could easily be sold as a horror/action hybrid.  We get plenty of rapid violence before and after the titular beast shows up.  Speaking of "Sparkles," it's a cool amalgam of a bull and a lion.  The creature effects are rendered digitally, but they don't look too shabby.  Was I reminded of 1997's The Relic?  Yes, but I dug The Relic.  So there.  Anyway, Penelope Ann Miller gives a commendable performance as Margo, an anthropologist tasked with--what the goddamn fuck, sorry!  Slid off the rails for a second.  When it comes to Swedish death metal, Seance are oft-overlooked purveyors of--son of a bitch!  Okay, new paragraph.

Not much about Monstrum offends me, if I'm being perfectly honest.  The photography is crisp, the pacing is even, and the antagonists are antagonistic.  This flick isn't perfect, though.  If I could change one aspect of the storyline, it would be the ending.  I won't go into detail, so as to protect kayfabe (lolzies), but suffice to say, he should have.  He didn't.  But he should have.  If you've seen Monstrum, I think you know where I'm going with this fuzzy, ambiguous point.  If not, I'm being too fuzzy and ambiguous.  It wouldn't be the first time.  Go Dinos!  This could be our year!


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