Argentinian writer-director Alejandro Fadel doesn’t pull any punches in his ghoulish and gory horror, Murder Me, Monster. His opening scene, a close-up of a woman with a slit throat slowly bleeding out and losing her head is proof enough of that. Police officer Cruz (Victor Lopez) is on the trail of the murderer, traipsing around the wilds of the Andes and finding only a succession of corpses and no clear answers.
Lopez is great in the lead role, blessed with an endlessly interesting face which he contorts into expressions of barely contained horror. As the horror gets stranger he remains the anchor of the film, searching for simple answers beneath the blood and guts.
Simple answers aren’t easy to come by, however, with a confusing plot that keeps meaning at arm’s length. There are also some bizarre plot holes, with the police taking very little care to keep prime suspects behind bars and then looking surprised when they catch another body.
Fadel’s script aims for a more complex ending than a straightforward whodunnit, reaching for a powerful message about toxic masculinity. He makes some symbolic parallels that are a little over-ambitious and gesture towards absolving murderous men of their actions. Nevertheless it’s nice to see a horror film that aims to say something with its kills and thrills.
Cinematographers Julián Apezteguia and Manuel Rebella play a big part in creating this monstrous nocturnal world, filling the frame with grime and decay. The final act brings a spectacular sequence where Cruz and his team search for a body in the desert with flares while a thunderstorm rages – a perfect example of the power of pathetic fallacy.
Fadel has made an ambitious and unforgettable horror that probes for meaning behind the violence, but loves the spectacle too much to dig deeper.
CAST: Victor Lopez, Esteban Bigliardi, Francisco Carrasco, Tania Casciani
DIRECTOR: Alejandro Fadel
WRITERS: Alejandro Fadel
SYNOPSIS: Rural police officer Cruz investigates the bizarre case of a headless woman’s body found in a remote region by the Andes Mountains.[TRAILER FORTHCOMING]