TADFF 2011: MONSTER BRAWL Review
On paper, Monster Brawl works.
Model your movie after pay per view wrestling events and use monsters as the combatants. Mix well known monsters like Frankenstein, Werewolf and Mummy with creative characters like Witch Bitch and Swamp Gut then pit them against each other, tournament style, in a wrestling ring in the middle of a cemetery. Add to the mix the gravelly narration and Mortal Kombat quips of Lance Henriksen. Insert cameos by WWE legends Jimmy Hart and Kevin Nash, and UFC referee Herb Dean, and this should have awesomeness written all over it. Sadly, it all comes across rather flat and aimless.
Here is what I know about the world of 'Professional Wrestling'. It is a spectacle. When done well events unfold that build up tension, excitement and anticipation to a feverish level. I've never gone to an actual event but I have sat in a cinema watching Wrestlemanias on the silver screen with friends and experienced the delirium of an audience that isn't even at the arena! This is where Monster Brawl misses the mark. Because it spins the dial to '11' from the start and never changes pace or tempo there is nothing to look forward to. The story fell into a needless pattern. Intro, commentary, fight. Intro, commentary, fight. Rinse, lather, repeat. As much as variety is the spice of life so should it have been the spice for this movie. There just doesn't seem to be any purpose to it all, no aim or goal to reach on behalf of the filmmaker. Simply setting up mildly exciting wrestling matches, one after the other, without changing it up a bit, just doesn't work in the end. When you repeat yourself over and over again it gets tedious. And boring.
Allow me to give credit where credit is due. Production looks great. Creature effects look good. But all this time and effort are for naught because audience manipulation and pulling their strings could have gone a lot further. There could have been more spectacular wrestling moves. The horror elements were slim. The humor often fell flat. There were not enough story elements to goad us into choosing sides.
Commence the butchering of a well known movie quote, "It coulda been a contender. It coulda been somebody". I really wanted to like Monster Brawl but just doing the same thing over and over again quelled any excitement I had for the concept. I thought there could have been so much more done with the concept to make it more fun.