ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Monstrum (2018) Movie Review

Updated on May 16, 2020
Noel Penaflor7 profile image

This Movie Review is the Brain Child of so many different personalities!!!

 
 
MPAA Rating
Not Rated
Running Time
105 minutes
Director
Jong-ho Huh
Writers
Dam Heo and Jong-ho Heo

As I’m sure you all know, this past Friday, May 15th was Bike To Work Day. Though if you don’t have a car, every day is bike to work day. Unless you don’t have any legs, then it’s duck walk or soldier crawl to work day. Either way, you all know the time-honored tradition of watching a Korean monster movie after you come home from Bike To Work Day.

That tradition has been in my family for over 7 generations.

It just so happens that this is a review of a Korean monster/horror/fantasy/thriller so we can enact these traditions even in quarantine.

Before he went to jail, my uncle said another “tradition” was to go out back to the shed with me and my sister to---

Maybe right now’s not the time to share that tradition in regard to your incarcerated uncle. Who knew you could hold so many gigabytes of children’s pictures on one hard drive?

Before the review, we must warn some of our more sensitive white viewers that Monstrum is Korean and therefore, unless you speak Korean, you’ll have to read subtitles. I know some of you whined like b*tches because you had to wait weeks to get a haircut. I’d be worried you’d shoot up a theater in protest only there aren’t any open.

I hate this movie already. Why can’t they just speak American?

Because as I previously mentioned, this is a Korean movie. But there are subtitles…that you’ll have to read. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Finnish movie Dogs Don’t Wear Pants and you had to read the words on the bottom of the screen then. You’ll just have to do it again if you want to see Monstrum. It’s worth it.

Can somebody read the sub-turtles to me?

Sure. Someone can read the sub…titles to you if that’s a challenge.

Let’s just get to the review before someone’s brain explodes from reading too much.

Synopsis In ‘Murican

Monstrum opens with a statement that the movie we’re about to see is based on a true story.

Sure.

Like Fargo is based on a true story.

We open somewhere in Korea around the 16th century.

Korea just crowned a new king, the honorable and bedazzled and handsome King Jungjong (Hee-Soon Park). Unfortunately, some of the other lords and especially the Prime Minister Sim Woon (Kyeong-Yeong Lee) seek to undermine the king to fulfill their own ambitions.

As if King Jungjong doesn’t have enough problems, there is a massive plague in and around Mount Inwangson and many citizens are dying. We see a little girl and her mother escaping to safety. We see an arrow go through the mother and the little girl is now an orphan.

We will send word from 2020 that plagues are a thing of the past and that no one will ever die from something like that again.

Forward to the near future. The plague is still present but somewhat subdued. King Jungjong maintains his tenuous hold on the kingdom. Besides the plague, there are whisperings of a monster that lives in the mountain by the name of Monstrum. Rumors abound that it kills beasts and humans. A good number of citizens are without livestock and are scrounging for food.

The Prime Minister will no doubt try to use that to his advantage.

We meet Yoon Gyeom (Myung-Min Kim) and his best friend/brother/heterosexual life partner/karaoke master Sung Han ( In-Kwon Kim). Yoon has a daughter Myung (Hyeri Lee) and they live solitary lives on the mountain, trying to farm and such. It’s clear they are no good at it. They are also some of the few Asian people not gushing over Crazy Rich Asians.

BTW- I’m Asian, and you have no f*cking idea how many white people randomly told me how much they enjoyed CRA, like I had something to do with that movie by virtue of being Asian. I’m not Chinese, though I don’t suppose it matters as I just fit into the “Generic Asian” stereotype.

I’ll continue with this review momentarily; I just have to finish my nurse training and then practice my violin before tutoring a white kid in math via Zoom.

Anyway, Yoon sees someone in a soldier’s uniform coming up the mountain.

His name is Heo (Wook-sik Choi, and if he looks familiar it’s because he was actually in Parasite and not just because all Asians look alike, Karen). He’s been sent by King Jungjong to ask Yoon and Sung to go back to the King’s service. Heo is also checking out Myung and trying to be subtle about it. He’s failing miserably.

Backstory- Yoon was one of Jungjong’s main generals but got into a falling out with the Prime Minister because he wouldn’t kill a baby girl suspected of being infected with the plague, you know, from the beginning of the movie. Yoon was banished so Jungjong could save face. That little girl grew up to be the non-plague-infected Myung.

Everybody caught up now?

The King begs Yoon to return to service because the citizenry is terrified of Monstrum. Yoon doesn’t believe it exists but will return to the Kingdom out of a sense of honor. Sung and Myung will tag along as well because Monstrum is just a construct that doesn’t really exist except to keep people in a state of fear like god or the Easter bunny.

But Yoon and Co will find out just how wrong they are.

Dead wrong. Because a lot of people will end up dead.

Just had to make that clear.

What Works With Monstrum

  • Even before you see the monster, director Jong-Ho Huh ratchets up the tension and political intrigue so the audience’s nerves are frazzled well before the monster shows up. You don’t really expect this much attention to story during these types of movies, so it’s a nice surprise when it happens.
  • Monstrum- It’s why you paid your ticket. Rather, it’s why you paid your monthly subscription. Monstrum is a wonderfully rendered monster. The special effects are seamless enough that you’re never taken out of the movie when Monstrum bites someone’s head off, looks into the camera and deadpans, “Korean food always upsets my stomach.”

What Doesn’t Work With Monstrum

  • This may be a cultural thing, but Monstrum’s attempts at humor fall flat. They never threaten to derail the movie, but more often than not you wonder if what you just saw was meant to be funny. It was. But you didn’t laugh. Maybe the jokes killed in Korea. You’ll never know.
  • My spellcheck after writing all these Korean names. Way to be racist.

Overall

Martial arts and monsters. Monstrum delivers on all fronts and gives you another option when you’re tired of watching Scooby Doo.

Really 3.5 But I’ll just round up

4 stars for Monstrum

Vote!

What’s Your Favorite Korean Dish?

See results

Buy Monstrum Here!

Monstrum
Monstrum
Comes with a FREE Monstrum!
 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)