Director: Ian Messenger
Cast: Don Carlos, Justin Celani, Tim Christie
Production Company: CatchMeKillMe Productions
Runtime: 76 minutes
Animal testing is a sensitive subject for many people. Some point to advancements in medicine, while others only speak of unnecessary cruelty. Monkey Farm (2017) is a horror documentary that shows us both sides of the issue, before unleashing the terror.
In the movie, a team of documentary filmmakers led by Ryan (Zach Etter), and his brother Gunner (Justin Celani), investigate an abandoned primate sanctuary to find out more about animal testing. They learn of the existence of Samson, a legendary creature that may really exist…
The movie is shot in a documentary film style, with many interviews and discussions along the way. The film crew speaks with scientists, doctors, eyewitnesses, a skunk ape hunter, and even a cabbage man expert. The interviews range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Monkey Farm delivers a strong message about cruelty and animal testing. The interviews are actually quite informative, and present both sides of this controversial topic. There is no final word on the matter, so the viewer must come to their own conclusions.
Director Ian Messenger also wrote and directed Fireside Tales (2016). Cast members Justin Celani, Tim Christie, and Zach Etter appeared in both movies. Many members of the crew were also involved in the production of these two films.
Samson was created by Immortal Masks, and looks very convincing. Some of the best cinematography in the film happens to include the creature. There’s a scene on a bridge near the end of the movie that is beautifully shot. It reminded me of the final moments from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
Most of the real horror is regulated to the last twenty minutes of the movie, but the accumulation of relevant data helps to make the ending even scarier. In that way, the movie is very similar to another horror documentary called The Frankenstein Theory (2013).
There are some funny moments in the movie that break with the otherwise serious tone. The interview with the skunk ape hunter and his son is a great example. It’s difficult to take either of them seriously, and the brothers can’t stop themselves from pointing out their flaws.
The movie also uses as many as three cameras to keep things interesting. A found footage film is always more watchable when it has more than one point of view. Monkey Farm raises awareness about animal testing and frightens us on a primal level, all at the same time.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…