It’s time for a really old monster film, but a fairly unique one. What if you could make a Monster film without a monster? In a sense, the film uses the term monster not as its literal definition of a monster, but as something large and scary. While I can understand how not having an actual monster can be a deterrent, I actually found the film to be pretty fun. For the most part, it handled everything well and didn’t make any typical movie mistakes. It’s a solid film that has withstood the test of time.
Dave is shocked to find out that one of his pals has been turned to stone. The only suspect is a rock that the guy has been researching. Arthur, an expert on all things, believes that the rock is actually part of a meteor. The heroes find out that these rocks grow with water and continue to get larger and larger. Since soil has water in it and the area keeps getting hit by large thunderstorms, the crystals are growing very quickly. They will cover the whole country if something isn’t done. Still…what can the humans do?
Dave’s a pretty decent main character for the most part. He’s very no nonsense and is always trying to think up a plan. He was a little short with the weather guy, but he doesn’t panic too much at least. The film depicts him as the average joe and is pretty successful at it. Dave is pretty generic and you could interchange him with any other lead and you wouldn’t know the difference. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though as he is basically just the classic 1950’s lead that usually turns out to be a solid character. Arthur is probably the best character in the film as he always knows what is going on and gives a lot of good advice. Dave would have been stumped without him. Martin was a decent newspaper man. He spend a little more time whining than doing anything else, but when it was crunch time he came through. I don’t see how he could get bored writing a newspaper though. There’s always something to write about even if nothing is happening. Cathy is the main heroine of this tale and she’s all right. Cathy doesn’t get much of a role beyond worrying about the kid who was infected by the crystals, but that also means that she didn’t really make any mistakes either.
There are some logical questions with the film’s plot though. For starters, how exactly are the people turned to stone? They mention that the rocks drain a certain material out of people, which is what causes this, but that still leaves some questions. As we saw from an old lady, her arm was turned to stone from contact with the rock. The little girl’s contact led her to be almost completely petrified and the guy from the start was totally affected. Are we meant to believe that he was completely touched by the rocks? Because when we saw the guy, he was totally by himself and in a position that wouldn’t be natural to have stopped in unless it happened instantly like a flash freeze. I don’t think the film knew what was going on with this part.
The film does use a lot of stock footage for the Monoliths falling over so prepare yourself for that. They just keep on falling and falling with nobody to stop them. It’s hard to take it seriously as a threat and the final solution of dumping a lot of salt and water on them seems sketchy at best, but when dealing with such a random threat, you have to think outside the box. It is lucky that their governor was so reasonable though since Dave took matters into his own hand. Things could have certainly gotten very ugly for his future prospects.
This isn’t really a mistake by the film so much as a scene that was very interpretable. When the girl was first attacked by the Monoliths, I thought that they were going to mind control her so they could make some demands. The film opted to go a different way and so the Monoliths never got sentient, but the way the girl was glaring at everyone seemed to be like the film may have thought about going another way at first. I suppose it may have been my imagination though.
The film does make one mistake and that’s the fact that a dog dies due to the crystals spreading. The film didn’t have enough of a budget to make the dog look realistic which sounds good to me, but it’s still a moment of pointless animal violence. The film didn’t need that and it was a rather low blow. It’s like every film wants to force a scene like that inside of it and there’s no reason to. The shock value isn’t worth it!
Overall, The Monolith Monsters was a fun enough film. The classic 50’s writing ensured that all of the characters were pretty intense and that the dialogue was engaging from start to finish. The pacing was pretty good and the film should be able to grab your attention. Maybe not as a monster film, but just as a well written movie. Some of the townsfolk could be a little unreasonable and one guy being frantic to run off as soon as possible when his wife was still waiting to be un-petrified came across as a little unsympathetic. With all of these characters panicking left and right, it’s good that we had the police chief. He kept on trying to get in Dave’s way until he eventually just lost out. I appreciated the effort though. If you’re looking for a different kind of monster film, then check this out out. Even if you just want a fun slice of life film with a little tension, this could be the right film for you.