Chris von Hoffman’s splatter-fest Monster Party was released to theatres and VOD and Digtial HD November 2nd, 2018, redecorating the home invasion sub-genre with a fresh coat of
paint blood. Written and directed by Hoffman, Monster Party stars Robin Tunney (The Craft), Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck) Kian Lawley (Before I Fall) and Lance Reddick (John Wick), with Sam Strike (Leatherface), Virginia Gardner (Halloween, 2018) and Brandon Michael Hall (Search Party) rounding out the cast.
The horror genre is shaped by it’s great history and continuous evolution. As time passes what is perceived to be scary evolves. With this, the fears represented in film transitions as culture changes over time. From Slashers to Zombie flicks, and even child exploitation films where demonic possession is the anchor for terror, the genre speaks to the layers of fear that rest within an ever-evolving cultural landscape.
“Murder Party is a cerebral experience of dark comedy, style, and hyper violence”
Over the course of the past several years, the home invasion sub-genre has resonated with a sharp sense of style and critical voice. With films like Mike Flanagan’s Hush (2016) and Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers (2008), the domestic terror of a slasher film is isolated to a single space, but the home invasion genre has evolved as well. Whereas films like Hush and The Strangers are about the horror of invasion, Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breath (2016) is about the terror hiding in plain sight. The intruder becomes prey. Similarly, this is the genre and cultural space that Chris von Hoffman’s Monster Party rests. Like our more modern home-invasion films, Monster Party is a kinetic thrill ride, where the threat and danger already exists within the home.
Monster Party tells the story of young-adult cat burglars Casper (Sam Strike), Iris (Virginia Garner) and Dodge (Brandon Michael Hall). Preying on the wealthy, their thievery (although illegal) is non-violent and small scale, stealing only to survive. Iris and Dodge are young lovers expecting their first child and Casper comes from a broken home shaped by his father’s gambling addiction. In an effort to save his father’s life from the hands of a sleazy strip club loan shark, Casper convinces the group to rob a family that employs Iris as a waitress for private functions. Disguised as wait staff, the trio soon realize that what looks like an innocent dinner party for the super rich is actually a monstrous affair of murder and butchery. A realization that comes only after the security system locks them inside with house full of killers.
Monster Party, is the The Evil Dead of home invasion films. Writer and director Chris von Hoffman executes his low budget with the energy of a young Sam Raimi with a nuanced and hyper use of camera movement and framing. His direction effectively leverages sound and score to set a diabolical and off-settling mood that traps the viewer within the confines of their seat. You literally can’t look away, even if you wanted to. Monster Party is one hell of a disturbing (and pleasurable) 90 minute ride into the chaotic world of an American home shaped by a lust for murder.
With a final act heightened with surprises and a sense of comic dread, the film is a cerebral experience of dark comedy, style, and hyper violence. Not to mention exceptional performances from the supremely talented Robin Tunney (The Craft) and Julian McMahon (television’s Nip Tuck). Sure to join the ranks of every beloved cult classic, Monster Party is a celebration of the all things strange and weird.
Did you see Chris von Hoffman’s home-invasion horror Monster Party? Did the movie make you double check the locks on your doors? Let us know on Twitter, Reddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook.