Monstrous Disunion Film Review

★★★★

Directed by: Jackson Batchelor

Written by: Jackson Batchelor, Sam Mason-Bell

Starring: Martin W. Payne, Jessamie Waldon-Day, Connor Mellish, Janette Evans

Film Review by: Vikas Yadav


It’s rare to see characters in a film talk about politics. Most of them either chase love or save the world from annihilation. Hardly do we get to witness a conversation where characters sit down at the table to discuss their political views with friends or families. Does 007 support left-wing or right-wing politics? Does Ethan Hunt - when not busy jumping from the highest altitude for the thousandth time - ever sit back on his chair and ponder on the current political issues? Did the Graham family - before the death of the matriarch - snapped at each other over a political debate like they did during the dinner scene where Peter tells Annie to “release” herself?


I am sure no one demanded for the inclusion of these scenes. Even a Get Out, or Us weaves politics inside the horror genre. The people in it do not discuss about it. Director Jackson Batchelor with Sam Mason-Bell makes the characters in Monstrous Disunion have political debates though the end result may prove why we don’t have such disputes often on the screen. Some humans are simply not evolved enough to be civilized in a way that allows them to be respectful of other's opinions. They are content with their thoughts and form a brawny bubble around them, shielding themselves from being pierced by an outlook that contrasts their viewpoint.


Maddy (Jessamie Waldon-Day), unfortunately, lives within such a close-minded household. Her father, Mark (Martin W. Payne), is a Brexiter. He has endowed his views on his son Pete (Connor Mellish). They both put trust in distrustful sources (Mark on a dubious news channel and Pete on a nonsensical online video). Maddy and her friends oppose them head-on, making them Bremainers. At least, one of them named Michael does. The other finds a companion in Mark’s mother named Anne (Janette Evans). Anne is the glue that holds these opposites together. If not for her, the group would have reached for each other's throat within ten-twenty minutes of this film. At one point, as things seem to heat up a little, Anne tries to cool it down by saying, “Let’s not talk about Brexit at the table.”


Monstrous Disunion takes place on the day of the EU Referendum. Note how the characters, in the beginning, wait for breakfast, which sounds (almost) similar to the word Brexit. They are not only waiting for food. They are also waiting for the results. The title goes beyond a wink to Maddy’s disastrous familial reunion (or disunion, thanks to clashing ideologies). In literal terms, it refers to the break-up of this family because of a monster. Batchelor transforms Mark and others like him into human pigs under the guise of a virus outbreak. Brexiters vs. Bremainers turns into Aliens vs. The Earth (the core remains intact). The black and white further accentuates that there is no middle ground. You are either Brexiter or Bremainer, i.e., black or white.


We don’t merely know about the character's political side. Mark, for example, likes two sugars in his tea. Anne enjoys cooking and uses food to handle tough situations (she offers to make tea during a tense moment). Pete is blinded by his father and sincerely follows in his footsteps. If Mark were to tell him that we inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, chances are that Pete would unthinkingly believe him. There are quieter scenes where Mark just smokes, or Maddy talks with her friends about brainless slasher films. These scenes are exquisitely shot, showing that these characters are not created only to perform the central duties of the screenplay, which here means to talk about government and policies. While Monstrous Disunion does not always land during the horror portions, it is nevertheless a film worthy of your attention.