Vampire films, much like zombie films, are a subgenre of horror that has been done to undeath. As more and more films are released, it is increasingly difficult for filmmakers to find new ideas and deliver a fresh film. Enter Monsters Among Men, a film that tries to do just that. Did it succeed? Or was it just another lifeless entry in the glut of bloodsucker films?
Monsters Among Men is the debut feature from writer/director Ryan Blazic (The Suicide King 2012) and stars Jonathan David (The Suicide King 2012), Mykaela Hopps (Marcy 2014), Jim O’Rear (Volumes of Blood 2016), Craig Bouwens (The Scrapper 2012), Michelle Shields (Frankenstein: Day of the Beast 2011), Luke Bonczyk (Playback 2012), Matthew Wesener (The Suicide King 2012), Angela Degarmo (Becoming the Reaper 2015), Katarina Rigoni, Keith Zahn (Post Mortem, America 2021 2013), Dean Vanderkolk (Becoming the Reaper 2015), and D.J. Sims. The plot follows a self absorbed, young business man who blacks out in the middle of proposing to his girlfriend. He wakes up to find that he has been abducted by vampires and his girlfriend is nowhere to be found. He manages to escape and goes it search of his lost love. Will he find her before its too late?
Monsters Among Men is not at all what I expected and that isn’t a bad thing. What I was expecting was a fairly straightforward horror story and what I got was a character driven film about a man and his quest to save the life of the woman he loves while trying to become a better person in the process – as much a drama as a horror film. Reed, the lead character of the film, is a self absorbed egotistical douche at the beginning. He is too preoccupied by his job to make it to a meeting with his girlfriend and fails to keep the promises he makes to her. His cowardice near the start of the film leads to a man’s death. This shakes him and leads to him consciously trying to become a better person.
He eventually meets and saves Sadie, the wife of the man whose death he caused and he makes it his goal to not only help her get out alive but save the love of his live. This isn’t going to be easy as he is an insulin dependent diabetic who has lost all of his shots. Most of the cast of characters in this film are flawed and that makes them more interesting. We don’t always get a lot of back story on the vampires but they still are more complicated than your average horror film bloodsuckers. Some of them, despite their need to consume human blood to survive, are actually decent people who, when the time comes, sacrifice themselves to do the right thing and help our protagonists in his quest. Sadie is the only genuinely good person in the film, as well as being a badass, insisting on helping Reed despite his constant lying and half truths and even saving his ass more than once.
The cast, while consisting of relative newcomers, does well in their respective roles. The hero, while flawed, is relatable. The villains are just diseased people who are doing what is necessary to keep themselves alive and protect the people they care about, not unlike the heroes. The exception to this rule was the Big Bad played by genre veteran Jim O’Rear. whose character was a straight up, unlikable dick but O’Rear was wonderful in the role. Despite it’s obvious low budget, the film was well shot and the effects were pretty well done. I loved the twists and turns that the film took in the final act. The ending was ambiguous, leaving me wondering the fate of Reed and where the other characters went from there. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a follow up in the future and I’m definitely looking forward to any future projects from Ryan Blazic.
In spite of its low budget and relatively green cast, Monsters Among Men is a solid and unique take on the vampire mythos which offers more character development than your average fang flick. If you have a love of character based horror and don’t mind low budget cinema, then I recommend you check out Monsters Among Men. You can purchase a copy here.