In genre films, there are few rules you must follow. In fact, sometimes filmmakers should be encouraged to bend them a bit, even break them. It’s how some “houses” were built and franchises still go on, having sparked from that mindset that a producer had at some point. Risks should be taken.
In the world of horror, we love being surprised. Films don’t have to be huge studio flicks to get love from the most faithful of followers. In horror, rules don’t have to exist. We love the weird, the bizarre and the self-respecting.
It’s why a film like Monsters in the Closet can’t pass the test it positions itself on. Here’s a horror anthology made with love but lacking a few key points to place itself among its peers. It’s a film that could have and should have been polished before being released. Is it a horrible film? No. But it’s a messy one, and rules aren’t even a point of discussion when considering the film.
In this horror anthology, an author leaves behind some stories when he dies. His daughter sets out to investigate her father’s death. This is how she ignites chaos. She opens an audiobook told by the author himself. He was using magic to spark his characters into reality. Every “monster” is part of a story.
Don’t get me wrong. I love horror anthologies and I’m always looking for the next one that can surprise me with the capacity of telling good stories in a short film format. In Monsters in the Closet, few of them can be saved in the end. It’s just a collection of gross out gags that don’t even satisfy any gore hounds that come upon the film.
Monsters in the Closet is a film with too many mistakes. It feels like a work in process with unfinished special effects, wrongfully selected takes and misdirected acting. It shouldn’t feel amateurish considering the scope of the film. Then again, horror comedies are part of a genre that’s hard to comply with.
Rules. One of the enemies of genre films. Yet, sometimes they are a safe spot for struggling filmmakers trying to make ends meet. Sometimes they can also be followed, and filmmakers will get away with trouble. You just have to be aware of the kind of film you’re setting out to make. In Monsters in the Closet, it feels like no one knew. And sadly, at some point it feels like no one cared.