Review: Mail Order Monster

Mail Order Monster

Mail Order Monster is a sci-fi tinged drama directed by Paulina Lagudi & written by Paulina Lagudi & Marc Prey.  The film stars Charisma Carpenter (Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel), Josh Hopkins & Madison Horcher

“Growing up isn’t easy for Sam. She’s bullied at school and has trouble fitting in.  She endures these struggles through her relationship with her dad, and her love of comics.  Making matters worse, she’s getting a new stepmom!  Desperate, Sam orders a robot monster through the mail that promises to solve her problems.    But this friendly “Mail Order Monster” is more than she ever could have imagined.”

Ever wondered what would happen if you actually sent in the coupon from that old comic? That question is answered here as we follow Sam Pepper (Madison Horcher) as she struggles to deal with the loss of her mother. The film wears it’s nerd-cred on it’s sleeve as the film starts with a motion-comic sequence; a device that is revisited later in the film. Sam’s ordeal has left her isolated from her school friends and a strained relationship with her father (Josh Hopkins); as he wants them to move on with their lives and his new love-interest (Charisma Carpenter).

At it’s heart this is a small, yet powerful and beautifully told tale of a young girl struggling with grief and life. We also get a little sci-fi in the story as she finds comfort in her new robot companion; the titular ‘Mail-Order Monster’ (MOM) which provides some warmth and comedy while at the same time having an underlying threat of danger with plenty of kitch factor and lends an ‘Amblin’ feel to the film.

A poignant, well paced and emotional exploration of grief and more importantly how we continue with our lives that works equally well for adults and children alike; in-fact i would recommend watching this with your kids to help them understand grief. The third act especially delivered a powerful punch that is well earned. The film hangs on young actress Horcher’s performance as Sam and she delivers with plenty of attitude and also depth of feeling that easily connects with the audience. It is under-pinned by a subtle score from Robert Mai.

The film is available now on iTunes.

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Ben started out as a technology blogger before branching out into writing about Film & TV. An obsessive fan of indie film & dark comedies you will probably find him waxing lyrical about the movies of Kevin Smith, The Coen Brothers, Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino.


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