I Wanted to Like It, I Really Did
After the epicness that is Stranger Things 3, seeing David Harbour’s face on a thumbnail of a Frankenstein movie I jumped in immediately. Harbour had a face I could see being Frankenstein. A more rural, perhaps descendant of the original scientist.
But sadly, Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein disappointed. The film is a measly 32 minutes long and feels incomplete and unnecessarily convoluted. It raises more questions than it does answers and leaves me wondering why it even exists.
A Promising Story Idea
The story boil down to a mockumentary. David Harbour, playing himself, fictionally delves into the history of his troubled father, the actor. (This premise is entirely fictional, as David Harbour’s real father was never an actor.)
Harbour analyzes his father’s life by dissecting one of his famous plays about Frankenstein. In the play, Frankenstein is pretending to be The Monster, and The Monster is pretending to be Frankenstein in order to secure a grant. Why they choose to do this is unclear.
By the end of the play, the viewer questions if Dr. Frankenstein is really the famous scientist or just another one of his creations that stole his identity. Harbour is also left wondering if his dad was a monster or not, and if he should present his legacy honestly or not.
The Terrible Acting is Terrible
It seems clear to me that the acting in this film is supposed to be bad. The stage acting is very stiff and doesn’t translate to film very well. However, the bad acting in itself is just bad. It isn’t satirical, it isn’t exaggerated, it’s just bad. They’re bad at being bad, if that makes sense. Harbour himself acts well in the film, but everyone else is painfully hollow.
Even outside of the play the acting is poor. The studio representatives that Harbour interviews are uncooperative for what seems no reason. Those scenes in particular leave me wondering what the point of this movie even was if the main character can’t even get the answers he’s seeking.
It Could Have Been a Great Story
This mockumentary has everything going for it to be a good film. It has the amazing actor David Harbour and a fresh twist on the Frankenstein story. This movie would have been better if the fictional Harbour family history had been dropped from it completely.
Either that, or it needed to be longer in order to thoroughly explain and clarify the jarring juxtapositions of Harbour’s father and Frankenstein. The rushed ending of the play felt disingenuous and abrupt. The controversy of the father didn’t feel fully explained.
All in all, Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein felt like a lot to do about nothing. In a world filled with awesome Netflix Originals, this one missed the bar. I give it 5 nosebleeds out of 10.