Hey gang, Valkor here. In the past, I usually fall into the category of judging a book by its cover, and in terms of films, I take bad box art to mean bad movie… and I usually end up wrong. So what happens when you have good box art with a really bad movie? You end up with a film called "Mommy's Little Monster", a film with a lot of character, but no substance. Overall: it's downright boring!
Mommy's Little Monster actually intertwines the lives of three characters that run concurrently into one, with one character being the sole connection. The main character is Taylor (Matt Terzian), a recently released mental patient. Through the use of flashbacks, we see that he's still haunted by his mother (played by Karen Black), who was also his tormentor growing up, that would berated and abuse him. Back in his home, Taylor comes across a locked door that's also a link to his past, but something is behind those doors. What is it? We'll never find out (or maybe we do, I think I nodded off during that scene). Anywho, Taylor is given a job by his uncle Stanley, who runs an excavation company who are currently working on a site looking for bones in a possible indian graveyard. If they find any, then the Indians keep the land. But if they don't then a company called Raycon gets it and they plan on building housing units on top of the land. With Taylor's unique attention to detail (plus degrees in archeolgy), he must help uncover the gravesite or risk losing a part of himself – the land was also his hangout when things got rough in the home.
Next up is Uncle Stanley (Geoffrey Lewis); while Taylor was "away", he was asked to take care of the home, but old Stanley spent more time frittering away his, Taylor's, and Raycon's money on poker and the race track. Now he must choose to either do the right thing and admit the land is a burial ground or steer things in the opposite direction so that Raycon gets the land, which may lead to money money to pay off his debts. Debts that if he doesn't pay off, will be the end of him.
Finally there's Kira (Troy Beyer), Taylor's drunken neighbor, who literally forces her way into his life. She's got issues all her own besides the drinking such as trying to maintain charge of her daughter, whom her ex is trying to gain full custody. She's somewhat of a love interest to Taylor, but nothing serious ever really happens. We mostly see Kira flat on her back after a night of drinking either in her front yard, on Taylor's couch, or some other strange place.
There's literally so much going on in this film that I'm not exactly sure what the plot is supposed to be – is it Taylor dealing with his mom issues? I was kinda expecting something along the lines of Psycho or Basement Jack, but nothing along those lines ever happen. Is the story centering on Taylor and his indebted uncle? He pretty much gets what's coming to him at the end. Or is the film about Taylor and Kira? They don't appear to have a love thing happening; it's more like they tolerate one another. And if you think the plot is confusing, wait till you see the end. Nope it's not one of those weird, twist ending films – actually, there are a bunch of unanswered questions such as:
- What the hell was behind that door? We see it creak open and we hear someone or "something" but we're never brought back to it.
- What happened to Uncle Stanley? At the end of the film he was taken away by one of the guys he owes money to, so I guess we're to assume he's dead.
- Kira decides to straighten up, try to work things out with the ex and get her life back together for the sake of her daughter. Again we're to assume everything turns out okay for her.
- And what about Taylor? He's killed at the end and finds the answers he sought… in the afterlife. Essentially he had to let go of the world he once knew. However it's weird because he was supposed to have been buried on the dig site, but then he winds up in the hospital. How did he get there?
The film is 99 minutes long… 99 minutes of pure I don't know what the fuckness - and that's not a good thing.
I'll say this "Mommy's Little Monster" has two things going for it… well actually three. One, the acting is actually pretty sweet. Though no standouts, I think everyone put on an amazing performance, really helping the flow of the film, which is still rather slow, but at least the acting doesn't hurt it. The second would be how the film was shot (using a Sony Cinealta 24P HD camera), it looks gorgeous. It would be a wise investment to a lot of newbie independent film makers out there - you want an indie film that looks great? raise the cash and snag this camera! Finally, kudos on the Karen Black cameo; sure she's in just a few flashbacks, but those that she's in, with that devilish grin and sweet voice that underlies evil, is just creepy. However my award for creepy mom of the year stands with Lynn Lowry in Basement Jack (momma loves you with a cuddle and a kiss).
Best, scariest mom evar!!
As I mentioned above, the plot isn't grounded to any one person, so there isn't a solid narrative - who is the film really about? Or should I ask who, along with Taylor, is the film really about? Next, the title and the cover art makes you believe you're getting something more horrific, maybe something gruesome, but no one dies and no blood is shed. You wait and wait for something to happen, ANYTHING, but it never does. No blood, no gore, no scares, absolutely nothing! Next is the pacing; that 99 minute run time has some serious drag to it. I wasn't kidding when I said I nodded off on a few bits. Plus the fact that nothing ever happens that's either scary or suspenseful makes this one a complete waste of time.
The rage and disappointment you'll get when you finish watching this film.
Mommy's Little Monster also goes by the name "A Light in the Darkness", which would probably make more sense, however it won't save this title from the trash bin – forget what you see from the cover box, because you'll get nothing that resembles a horror movie from this title. But if you're gonna check it out, enter at your own risk. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give the film a 1.
Now here's a film that REALLY could have used some ninjas!