Friday, December 26, 2014

Movie Review: Attack of the Morningside Monster (2014)

I freely admit that the only reason I wanted to watch Attack of the Morningside Monster was the fact that Nicholas Brendon is in it. The two of us share a deep connection that exists only in my mind because we have the same birthday and because he was my most beloved character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brendon not only starred in but also produced this horror thriller film from Blue Dusk Productions.

In the small town of Morningside, New Jersey, a series of brutal murders baffles local law enforcement. Bodies are found eviscerated, accompanied by a strange symbol that seems tribal or ritualistic in nature. The close relationships among the residents of the town make finding the killer even more difficult and hard to believe that one of them is probably responsible for the horrible acts.

I really wanted to like Attack of the Morningside Monster, but sadly the movie is not as exciting as its hyperbolic title. There is less emphasis on the horror side of the story, which is not a problem at all, but the dramatic side that takes over drags the movie down. The story is not much different than other small town murder mysteries, though it tries to offer something new with the meaning behind the killer. Overall, though, the movie is slow, with not a shred of tension to amp the audience up for what is to come.

ATMM suffers the most from a lack of strong characters. Half of the cast consists of really unlikable criminals, and the other half is a group of good guys who are likable, but boring. They lack any real depth as characters, and this is sadly true of Brendon's character as well. He portrays your average sweet, normal guy well, but the performance is too obvious and easy, especially for him. Police officer Klara, played by Tiffany Shepis, provides some nice comic relief here and there but that's about it. Most disappointing - and annoying - is the town drug dealer Clyde. His portrayal by actor Mike Stanley is just lazy, thinking that he constantly has to wear that "mean" look on his face to let us all know that he's the bad guy.

Even worse than the dull character relationships is the ridiculous look of the killer. The oversized black, sparkly cloak instills no sense of fear in the audience, and neither does the equally sparkly mask that the killer wears. The mask is way too colorful, and its protruding, pointy teeth are laughable. His method of killing fits in well with other horror killers - cutting open his victims and removing certain organs in a very graphic way - and the effects work in these scenes was at least impressive. However, the horror of the crimes is lessened by the killer's motive for committing them, even though the victim's were people no one would really miss anyway.

Attack of the Morningside Monster is competent enough film that does its best, but overall fails at being truly compelling. Stronger characters and a tighter plotline would have helped the movie immensely.


  1. I bet that colorful mask would work a lot better if the killer done most of his killings at night.

    I might look this up. Who knows, maybe I might enjoy it (?)

  2. Welp... We've gotten a lot of good reviews, but this is definitely a dose of Humble Pie for me as an actor. Sorry you didn't care for it, and appreciate your honesty.



    1. Oh god, I'm such an asshole. I am nobody and my opinion means nothing, please don't listen to me.