The Monster, a nail-biting thriller and coming of age story directed by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers), was one of last year’s overlooked films. Featuring first rate performances from Zoe Kazan (Olivia Kitteridge) and Ella Ballantine (Anne of the Green Gables), this Ottawa shot production should have you on the edge of your seat.

Lizzy (Ballentine) is a strong willed child who’s saddled with an irresponsible  and verbally abusive mother (Kazan). Her parents are divorced, and now her mom is driving Lizzy to see her dad (Scott Speedman). Things go awry when a car accident leaves them stranded on a rainy night, waiting for assistance. A monster, however, lurks amidst the trees along the deserted road, and mother and daughter must use their wits and courage to escape the monster’s clutches.

Though there are several characters featured in The Monster, the picture is essentially a two-hander that delves into the fractured relationship of Lizzy and her mom (Bertino also employs flashback in the tale). While the monster is the scariest part of the tale, the heartbreaking and destructive arguments that are a part of Lizzy’s life are also hard to watch.

Running at 91 minutes, the film is a confident blend of horror (the final act is downright brutal) and family drama. It’s a shame the film didn’t receive wider acclaim during its release, and hopefully it can catch a wider audience with its recent Blu-ray release.

The disc comes with “Eyes in the Darkness,” a featurette which delves into the making of the film. Kazan, Ballantine, Bertino, the producers, and co-star Aaron Douglas are interviewed in the segment. Do not watch this featurette before checking out the movie, as there’s b-roll footage that gives out a huge spoiler in the film!

The Monster is now out on Blu-ray via Lionsgate.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi