Murder Me, Monster (Muere, Monstruo, Muere)
A strange and sinister force has taken up residence in a remote Argentine village deep in the Andes. As the headless bodies of women from the town are found on a near daily basis, local police officer Cruz (Victor López) follows the trail of the investigation closely and begins to suspect the killer might be more extraordinary than imagined. Magical realism comes to the screen in Alejandro Fadel’s latest project and while Murder Me, Monster is certainly imaginative, it inhibits itself from fully embracing the genre and therefore makes for a discordant piece.
López gives a relatively static performance in the leading role, establishing a reserved tone that endures throughout the film. The viewer is never fully invited to get to know the character on a personal level, making even the most dramatically interesting scenes – like the one where he’s in bed with his married lover Francisca (Tania Casciani) – impersonal and distant. Esteban Bigliardi offers a focused and emotionally rich portrayal of David – Tania’s husband and number one suspect in the killings – but isn’t given much to work with. Fadel orchestrates the feature with poise and restraint, perhaps in an effort to build suspense, but unfortunately, this decision backfires. Magical realism demands a kind of playfulness – a childlike sense of wonder, if you will – to allow for the fantasy element to be shocking, yet believable. This movie was a bit too serious, and as a result, the introduction of an actual monster felt like a strange invasion.
Too much of our time is spent in the setup, wondering if the killer is human or a magical creature. The talented cast is left with far too much space to fill; as a result, the eventual appearance of an aesthetically awkward monster fails to impress, leaving Murder Me, Monster with a flat ending. It’s a missed chance at what could have been a thrilling and unique film.
Murder Me, Monster (Muere, Monstruo, Muere) does not have a UK release date yet.
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