A supernatural tale unlike most you have seen before, Murder Me, Monster (Muere, Monstruo, Muere) follows a confused detective searching for a monster that has claimed the lives of several women in his rural mountain town. He is always two steps behind this mysterious killer, with only the words of a madman and a slimy, green saliva sample to use in his hunt. An incredibly visual film, Murder Me, Monster weaves a tangled web of mythology and mystery where escape seems impossible for anyone foolish enough to step foot inside. The mysteries of that mythology are unfortunately never clearly explained but the investigation at the heart of this story is eerie, and in some ways, touching.
Murder Me, Monster celebrated its North American premiere at Fantastic Fest 2018. The film is written and directed by Alejandro Fadel, starring Esteban Bigliardi, Francisco Carrasco, and Tania Casciani. It also features the grosses monster I’ve seen on-screen in some time. So, if that’s something you’re interested in seeing, the reveal is worth (?) the wait.
In a remote area surrounding the Andes Mountains, headless bodies have begun to appear with no explanation. Detective Cruz has been charged with investigating these murders, and all evidence seems to point to the husband of his girlfriend. Cruz is the unfortunate victim of a love triangle and with a laundry list of mental issues, his prime suspect seems more than capable of carrying out the grizzly murders. However, Cruz isn’t convinced the finger is pointed in the right direction when bodies continue to show up. And there’s something about that phrase the man keeps repeating. Cruz can’t seem to get it out of his head as well, as though there is something terrifying summoning the two of them. Cruz is reassured by his captain that it’s only the stresses of the job getting to him, nothing more. But those words keep nagging at him, working away at his psyche bit by bit until his every thought is consumed by that hideous repetition: Murder, Me Monster.
Cruz‘s investigation seems to be leading him to something beyond his understanding. There is no explanation for the clues he has been collecting intuitively. He is at a cross roads in his understanding, unsure what to do next or where to look. All he knows for sure is that the monster will kill again. A pattern has begun to emerge but it is still very unclear. Details are murky but Cruz can see at the center of it all, there are three symmetrical mountains, a mysterious motorcycle gang, and that dreaded phrase- all somehow integral to the deaths. Against all his training Cruz’s must begin to trust his instincts and give in to the supernatural if he is ever to find himself face-to-face with this vile, slimy monster.
In some respects, Murder Me, Monster is a mystery of Lynch-ian proportions, but it slowly abandons the metaphysical forces at play when it’s monster is revealed. Through his investigations, Cruz discovers what he believes to be a pattern linked to the symmetrical geometry of the region’s mountains, the monster’s killing grounds, and the repetition of that phrase, “Murder, Me Monster“. For how much time was spent on Cruz’s rogue investigation into the nature of this monster, I expected to be given a deeper purpose or meaning behind the killings. What appears to be a pattern is never explained, leaving me wanting a motivation for the monsters actions. I’m okay supplying that motivation myself based on what I’ve learned from the characters but I don’t know that I was given more than base level clues. And I still have no idea what that bloody motorcycle gang was supposed to mean in the overall story.
On the surface, Murder Me, Monster appears to be a police procedural, dealing with elements from a dark fantasy but those fantasy elements never extend out past the monster. I am willing to assume that some of the mythological elements in the film that I wish were more clear, are plain as day to an Argentinian crowd, and I can’t fault it for staying true to its origins. If I were more well versed in the countries folklore, I’m sure I would have a deeper appreciation for the subtly of Murder Me, Monster. Overall, the film was an intriguing watch, even for a monster so odd and gross. I was sucked in to the mysterious nature of the killings and wanted so desperately to learn the inner workings of his abilities. Before we are introduced to him, these murders feel as though they served a higher purpose, somehow cosmically linked to forces beyond our control or understanding. But after seeing that monster with my own eyes, I am only left with more questions.
I knew very little going in to Murder Me, Monster and for better or worse, I’ve come to associate the words “Dark Fairytale” with Guillermo del Toro. I shouldn’t expect fun, slightly macabre magical realism but unfortunately that’s what happens. If, like me, you’re thinking Murder Me, Monster will sit on your shelf next to The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth, brace yourself for a unique tale filled with broken hearts, headless bodies covered in goo, and monsters born from a petri dish of adolescent fears.
Murder Me, Monster (Muere, Monstruo, Muere) celebrated its North American premiere September 23rd at Fantastic Fest 2018 and is currently set for release January 2019 in France. Check out all of Nightmare on Film Street’s Fantastic Fest coverage here!