This one came as a complete surprise to me: behind the rather playful title lies an unexpectedly harrowing, mean-spirited and nihilistic tale that leaves quite the emotional impact.
Lin Shu-wei (Yu-Kai Teng) is an unpopular high-school student who faces daily bullying from his classmates and a lack of empathy from his teacher. When Shu-wei is accused of stealing money, he is given community service, along with three of his most cruel tormenters, led by callous classmate Duan Ren-hao (Kent Tsai). Sent to work at an old people's home, the class bullies abuse the pensioners, with Shu-wei joining in, relieved to not be the target of the torture for a change.
One night, the four teenagers sneak into the home to steal a locked case belonging to an elderly ex-soldier, believing it to contain valuables. During the burglary, the lads encounter a ghoulish flesh-eating girl that chases them out of the building, only for her to be knocked down by a car (which promptly drives away). Taking the creature to their hideout, the bullies set about inflicting pain upon their prisoner, with Shu-wei a reluctant participant. Meanwhile, the cannibalistic kiddie's older sister is on the hunt for her missing sibling...
With almost no genuinely sympathetic characters, the message of Mon Mon Mon Monsters is that humans are the real monsters. We lose much of our sympathy for Shu-wei when he joins in with the bullies, his teacher is heartless, the driver of the car that hits the little girl immediately flees the scene, and Ren-hao and his pals are sociopaths. For some, this will mean that the film will prove too much to handle, but for those who enjoy disturbing cinema, this is a well-directed treat that keeps on surprising, right down to the bitter end.
7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
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