Korean monster movie Monstrum is a competent genre flick with an interesting plot somewhat spoiled by its own premise.
Set in Korea’s Joseon era, director Huh Jong-Ho places his generic creature feature into the middle of a period political intrigue, as a wicked Prime Minister plots to take over the throne using social disruption caused by a plague and rumours of the Monstrum.
Enter our main characters : Yoon Gyeom (Kim Myung-Min) a former commander of the Royal Guard, his best friend Sung Han (Kim In-Kwon), his adoptive daughter Myung (K-Pop idol Hyeri) and palace official Heo (Choi Woo-Sik).
The quartet has to establish the truth behind the monster rumours only to find themselves the victims of a vicious conspiracy.
As mentioned before, this well-developed plot is totally undercut by the basic premise – that the Monstrum is real. Although it must be said that the story does well in presenting three distinct conflicting interests – our heroes, the villains and of course, the Monstrum itself.
The main characters are likable – with bankable star Hyeri given the necessary screen time – and the villains camp it up nicely throughout.
The action sequences, stunts and the Monstrum itself are all smartly presented – usually in the black of night and with jarring (!) shaky camera – but passable CGI which maintains a fair suspension of disbelief for most of the movie.
Good fun overall.
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