Monsterland horror anthology blurs the lines between humans and monsters

Disgruntled fisherman Sharko (Trieu Tran) meets a blood-thirsty mermaid (Adria Arjona) who simply needs to go dwelling. 

Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Vampires, aliens and witches are the stuff of nightmares, however Hulu’s participating new horror collection Monsterland portrays these feared creatures because the enablers and victims of egocentric, conflicted people.

The eight-part collection explores the blurred traces between monsters and people. In actual fact, it is not likely the monsters themselves which might be the true menace in lots of of those creepy tales, however the folks they encounter. 

The anthology collection of standalone tales relies on Nathan Ballingrud’s 2013 brief story assortment North American Lake Monsters and tailored for TV by Mary Laws (The Neon Demon). 

Every installment tells its personal particular person story named after the place it is set, although some characters have cameos in different episodes to point out they’re all in the identical timeline. Whereas each episode contains an uncommon creature from a delusion or city legend, it is the underlying themes of household, betrayal, love, envy, greed and guilt that drive dwelling the horror.

The primary episode, Port Fourchon, Louisiana, options actor Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) expertly taking part in a down and out waitress and single mother who should take care of her disturbingly rage-filled daughter. Dever’s efficiency as a younger mum or dad who feels trapped in her dead-end job and overwhelmed by grownup tasks makes her character’s story appear all too actual.


New Orleans socialite Annie (Nicole Beharie) wrestles along with her previous, however a mysterious Mardi Gras trumpeter (Anthony Harvey) will not let her neglect. 

Barbara Nitke/Hulu

The waitress and mother finally ends up crossing paths with a mysterious man. You is perhaps fearful about this man’s intentions, but it surely’s the mother who finds herself going through a call that may horrify most dad and mom. This primary episode suggests the concept dangerous choices can result in disastrous penalties. Each selection we make has the potential to show us into monsters. 

The theme of dangerous mothers continues with an episode referred to as New Orleans, Louisiana. A socialite performed by Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) places a lot significance on showing to be the proper spouse and mom that she finally ends up neglecting her younger son when he wants her most. 

Monsterland additionally grapples with the theme of guilt. Within the episode New York, New York, a rich but unhealthy oil firm CEO suffers for trying the opposite approach throughout an environmental disaster and should battle his personal ugly inside demon as punishment. 


Zombie spouse Kate Feldman (Taylor Schilling) is lifeless drained from debating every thing along with her lawyer spouse.

Jeff Neira/Hulu

It is laborious to really feel empathy towards a grasping millionaire who’s involved solely along with his personal wants, however one other episode, referred to as Newark, New Jersey, contains a couple consumed by guilt over the lack of their solely little one. The gut-wrenching story primarily focuses on the tormented dad, portrayed by Mike Colter (Luke Cage). 

Although the extraordinarily entertaining Monsterland is unquestionably price a watch, the hour-long episodes really feel too brief for viewers to essentially get to know or care concerning the characters. I discovered myself wanting to know why these folks stored making dangerous choices and why they refused salvation.

The tales in Monsterland are sometimes extra like morality tales disguised as penny dreadfuls, slightly than apparent horror tales. The monsters right here aren’t notably scary as a complete, although they are often considerably disturbing of their look. 

The mermaid within the Palacios, Texas episode acts extra like a crafty predator than a Disney-fied singing princess. And the zombie in Plainfield, Illinois is disgusting for positive, however not likely the stuff of nightmares. 

The story that struck the largest nerve with me was the episode referred to as Iron River, Michigan. It follows the story of an unpopular teen lady, performed by Kelly Marie Tran (The Last Jedi), who’ll do something to reside another person’s life, even when it is the lifetime of her lacking greatest good friend. Whereas this episode has an actual monster that lurks within the woods, the story is not actually about why or how her good friend disappears. 


Sad bride Lauren Mills (Kelly Marie Tran) wanders by the woods searching for solutions. 

Barbara Nitke/Hulu

The true horror on this parable highlights what occurs once we let envy eat up our future. As an outsider teen myself rising up, I can relate to this character most likely greater than I care to confess. It is additional excruciating to really feel like a no person whereas residing within the shadows of a charismatic good friend who appears to have all of it. 

This episode is especially good at proving that the selection between doing the appropriate factor or persevering with to reside a lie is not all the time as simple as one would possibly assume.

Monsterland is not the form of collection with the everyday werewolves, aliens, boogeymen, demons and different creatures of the night time that horror followers count on. However the collection is price watching as a reminder that the evil creature we must always worry most is the darkness inside ourselves.

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Bonnie Burton