Monday, April 2, 2018

mon mon mon MONSTERS (2017)

Lin Shu-wei is bullied by his entire high school class led by a particular cruel clique that's led by Duan Ren-hao. Their latest torture is blaming him for stealing all the money from the class fund. Even when he proves he didn't do it, his devoutly Buddhist teacher refuses to believe him and suggest community service with his bullies to become friends and blend in. What is supposed to be a meals on wheels type service becomes theft from and abuse of the elderly. When they stop to look at what they've stolen, Lin, Duan, and his cronies stumble upon two man-eating monsters. The younger of the two is hit by a car and taken by the teens to tie her up and do what they like with her.

mon mon mon MONSTERS takes a hard look at humanity compared to actual monsters. Let's look at the two groups. The humans seen are a high school class and their teacher. The class is essentially led by one clique of awful, bullying students and everyone else, including the teacher, follow their lead. One of the students isn't even allowed inside the room and when she tries to extend some sympathy towards Lin, he soundly and rudely rejects her. Even though he's the target of the group, he still refuses to go against their rules. This is why I didn't find him much more sympathetic than the bullies. Ren-hao and his cronies gleefully abuse anyone that happens to be near them, no matter what. They have been given complete freedom and seem to have no moral compasses at all. When they have an essentially defenseless creature bound and gagged, the torture and violence start right away.

The two monsters are somewhere between vampire and zombie. They eat people at night and hole up in elevator shafts during the day. Sunlight is deadly to them. The sisters look after each other and the older one is completely devastated when the younger one goes missing. The only humanity or acts of kindness seen in the entire film is done by these monster. They clearly love, care, show affection, and make sacrifices for each other. The older one gives the younger one her favorite pieces and tucks her in at night as anyone would do for a younger sibling. Their behavior is in stark contrast to the humans who delight in tormenting each other. Even their violent behavior towards humans is only out of necessity and survival. They don't kill for fun and only kill as much as they need to eat a night. I felt so much for these creatures. Seeing them get hurt and becomes separated from each other was the saddest thing about the film.

mon mon mon MONSTERS is overall a depressing film to watch with the bullies completely allowed to do whatever they like and will probably continue that way for the rest of their lives. The monsters in this film show so much more humanity. Despite the overall mood, there are some laugh out loud moments of humor that lighten the soul crushing mood. The ending is shocking and satisfying despite its deeply nihilistic nature. I highly recommend this film if you don't mind being blindingly angry for most of the runtime.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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