Alejandro Fadel / Argentina / 2018 / 109 mins
Part of the Glasgow Film Festival 2019
The Mendoza region of Argentina is famous for its farmland and vineyards and this rural, secluded location is the setting of the horror film Murder Me, Monster. The movie begins in a grotesque, bizarre and gory fashion, with a flock of sheep which are splattered in bright red blood. The source of the blood is not from the sheep, but from a farmer who has had her throat cut and is attempting to reattach her almost severed head to her body.
A dark and gruesome tone is set, but the pace and style of the film changes as we follow a police officer and his captain attempting to solve a series of murders where the victim’s heads have been removed from their bodies. The investigation is led by Cruz (Victor Lopez) who is overseen by his creepy and sinister captain (Jorge Prado). The main suspect is a man called David (Esteban Bigliardi), who claims he has a telepathic connection to a monster that repeats the phrase “Murder me, monster”. A forensic investigation follows where we get deep into the psychology of Cruz and his own personal traumas.
The idea of a murderer having visions, hallucinations and experiencing extreme psychosis feels far too much of a cliché to hold much weight within the context of the bizarre and extreme nature of the murders. There is always a suggestion that there is a dark unworldly creature hiding within the barren landscape, but Murder Me, Monster spends far too long focusing on the procedural nature of the investigation and too easily points the finger at a psychotic and possessed killer. The big reveal at the end feels like it has been built up too long, so when it does finally arrive, it is slightly underwhelming and not exactly exciting or shocking. If less time had been devoted to the investigation and more event after the reveal, then the horror may have felt more unsettling and made Murder Me, Monster a truly disturbing film.