Monsters in the Closet
monsters in the closet | the snygg brothers | jasmin flores | luke couzens | camilla crawford | tom citkoski | anthology | zombie | zombies | mad scientist | thriller | united states | shanna bess | valerie bittner | john paul fedele | jordan flippo | denyse hollis
Film: Monsters in the Closet
Director: The Snygg Brothers
Writers: The Snygg Brothers, Jasmin Flores, Luke Couzens and Camilla Crawford
Starring: Jasmin Flores, Tom Cikoski and Luke Couzens
This is a movie that I sought out since it was the first 2022 horror film that I could find. When I saw this was an anthology, that piqued my interest. I do have to give credit as well to a friend on social media of Don, as I saw he reviewed this movie, so I knew that there was at least one movie from this year for my podcast. To get into this film, the synopsis is a horror author’s stories come to life when read out loud.
To get into this, our wraparound story starts with Raymond Castle (Tom Cikoski). He’s a writer from the synopsis. He’s in a panic, trying to finish what he is doing as there is a killer that is coming for him. He can’t finish in time and is killed. This brings his daughter of Jasmin (Jasmin Flores) home. Their relationship was contentious and she isn’t thrilled. On her way to the house, she has a run in with Alexandra (Karen Zheng). She wants the rights to Raymond’s newest book, but Jasmin isn’t ready to deal with this.
When she arrives at the house, she logs into her father’s computer and finds a file directed toward her. From it, she learns that her father found a book on black magic and if you write the stories, then read them aloud, they come to life. Jasmin stops listening to the video and decides to open the file of her father reading his newest stories. His warning in the video to her might be true, that as these stories are read, Jasmin has to survive what they make come to life.
From here we get four shorts. The first one is following Genny (Denyse Hollis) who has become a zombie. We are hearing her inner thoughts, voiced by Kim Carson and Sierra Neis, as she figures out what happened and her new existence. It takes her some time to come to terms with it.
Our second story is following a young couple, Zeke (Luke Couzens) and Tina (Camilla Crawford) that bought a fixer-upper house. They didn’t fully understand what they were getting themselves into and they’re now house broke. The stress of what they’re doing weighs on them.
The third story is around a new high school graduate, Tiffany Collins (Jordan Flippo). She wants to go camping with her friends and her new boyfriend of Vinny (Nelson JoaQuin), but she is seeking the approval of her father. Chester (Phillip Green) is a rich man. He points out to her that they’re part of the one percent and she’s going to Princeton. She does convince him, but we see that Tiffany might have some issues when the trip turns deadly.
Then the final story is a comedic take on the Frankenstein story, but in New Jersey. Dr. Frankenstein (John Paul Fedele) is married to Mrs. Frankenstein (Valerie Bittner), an aging, former beauty queen. When she accidentally dies on her birthday, Dr. Frankenstein goes about bringing her back to life. He doesn’t have the success he was wanting and it is much more difficult to return her to how she was.
That is where I’ll leave my recap for the stories and the movie itself. Where I’ll start is with the structure of this movie. This one has a classic take on the anthology and I do appreciate that. The wraparound we get makes sense. The premise as well is one that isn’t original, but I won’t hold that against it. There is a book on black magic that was used. Immediately I go to the Necronomicon. Seeing what Jasmin finds in the basement, it almost feels more like voodoo. There is a doll, a hat that looks to belong to Baron Samedi and a Ouija board. The premise of using the book and reading the stories to make them come to life is fine. It is interesting that the movie is alluding to that all the posters in Raymond’s house are all the ones he got famous for. They are all low-budget and I recognize some of the titles.
As for the stories themselves, I think we have some good ideas here. The one on zombies is interesting. We are seeing someone as they change and hearing their thoughts. They are still human, but the body is doing something other than what the brain is telling it. I thought this was creative. ‘Home Improvement’ is one that hit home. I love the idea of this young couple, buying a house and getting in over their head. It fits the times. The same goes for ‘The One Percenters’. My issue there is that one doesn’t seem to be a resolution. I like the bleakness that they get away with things, but it wasn’t handled well in my opinion. Then the last one was my least favorite. It felt rushed. I might also be jaded that I’ve seen a lot of Frankenstein adaptations, so I expect more.
One last thing for the story before moving on, I understand the concept of what is happening with reading the stories, but I don’t think the wraparound with them coming to life works. I think the zombie story should have been moved, as that gets Jasmin moving. The number of zombies it brings after her makes it difficult to survive. The problem though is that it is one of the better shorts, so they lead off with a strong one. What comes to life from the other stories just feels odd to me. I don’t know if this was thought out as well as they wanted.
Then for the acting, I wasn’t impressed with anyone to be honest. Couzens and Crawford are solid enough as the young couple. I do like the progression of them being over the top in love to where they end up. I will give credit there. Cikoski is wooden in how he acts. Flores was fine, but we don’t get much there either. Fedele and Bittner work well off each other, but their story didn’t hook me. Flippo was attractive and I think she fits her character well. I’d say that overall, it was just sub-par. It does feel like we have a lot of younger actors without a lot of experience as well.
That will take me then to the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, we get some good practical effects here and there. I liked the zombie make-up and how they moved. The movie goes heavy with the CGI and it isn’t very good. It looks cheap, there is a lack of blood and what I was seeing took me out of the movie. To take this then to how this was shot, I thought at times it was good. The POV of the zombie was interesting. Seeing the progression in Home Improvement was fine. From there, I’d say the rest of this was shot okay. It didn’t stand out though. As for the soundtrack then, the best one was the last story. I love the use of classic music. None of the other shorts stood out with their music. The inner thoughts of Genny were interesting so I will give credit to that.
In conclusion here, I think we had some good ideas for the stories, but the execution was lacking for me. The wraparound and the first three stories I think have something there, with the last one being a weak attempt at Frankenstein. I don’t like to trash movies. Let me preface that before going on. The acting though is subpar. The limited practical effects are fine, but the CGI is bad. The soundtrack for the Frankenstein story is the best with the rest not necessarily standing out. We get some good cinematography early and the rest is okay. Taking the average of all the stories, I have this anthology as below average. I can’t recommend this, but there are people out there who enjoy lower budget movies like this. I think you can get enjoyment out of something like this for sure.
My Rating: 4 out of 10