Monster Island – USA, 2019

‘The heavyweight championship has begun!’

Monster Island is a 2019 American fantasy horror feature film written, photographed, edited and directed by Mark Atkins (6-Headed Shark Attack; Planet of the Sharks; Knight of the Dead; The Haunting of Winchester House; Halloween Night; et al).

The Asylum production stars Eric Roberts, Toshi Toda, Adrian Bouchet, Jonathan Pienaar, Chris Fisher, Meghan Oberholzer, Natalie Robbie and Donna Cormack.

Review:

Oh hell yeah, The Asylum strikes again! And this time, it’s all about Kaiju, helicopters, and Eric Roberts!

Listen, folks, if you don’t get automatically excited when you see the words “Kaiju,” “helicopters,” and “Eric Roberts” all in the same sentence, I don’t know what to tell.  Obviously, you’re not the audience that this film was made for.  This is a film for people who enjoy monster mayhem, things exploding, and helicopters.  Seriously, it’s not an Asylum film without a helicopter.

Admittedly, Eric Roberts’ role is actually pretty small.  He plays Admiral Butler and he’s got an entire fleet of warships at his disposal.  You’d think that would be just what you would want when dealing with a bunch of recently awakened ancient monsters but it turns out that  the Admiral is pretty stubborn.  He’s better at shouting into telephones than understanding the logic behind Kaiju. And if you’re saying to yourself, “Would we really want Eric Roberts to be in charge of the U.S. Navy?,” you are again missing the point. Asylum films, like this one, create their own parallel universe. It’s a universe where monsters live, sea creatures can take down helicopters, and, of course, Eric Roberts is going to be in charge of a battleship.

The main character is Billy Ford (Adrian Bouchet, giving a cheerfully flamboyant performance), a billionaire who operates out of a beach house and whose underwater sea mining operation may be responsible for awakening the fearsome Tengu.  (Tengu looks kind of like a giant starfish and has molten magma for blood.)  Billy has two people working in the basement of his beach house.  Cherise (Donna Cormack Thompson) has been working with him forever.  Riley (Chris Fisher, giving a nicely neurotic performance) is such a recent hire that Billy still calls him “James.”  When it becomes apparent that something has awakened at the bottom of the ocean, Billy, Cherise, and Riley head underwater to investigate.

Coming along with them is Sarah Murray (Natalie Robbie), who works for the government and who is an expert in geomythology. Geomythology is the study of alleged references to actual geological events in mythology. Geomythology is a real thing and, after having watched this movie, I kind of wish that I had at least minored in it.  At one point, Sarah has to go to her former Geomythology professor (Margot Wood) for advice on how to stop Tengu from destroying the world and it turns out the professor lives in this huge cabin. There’s money to made in keeping track of the world’s Kaiju.

Anyway, needless to say, once Tengu is awakened, it’s pretty much determined to end the world.  This movie, as you can probably guess from the title, pays homage to the Japanese monster movies of old. When flying, fire-breathing monsters start hatching from eggs and attacking the world, their battle shrieks will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie featuring Godzilla, Mothra, or Rodan. When the film reaches the point of two giant monsters fighting each other while a bunch of human beings watch on, it’s impossible not to be reminded of Godzilla fighting King Kong.  It’s all in good fun, a monster movie made by people who loves monster movies for people who love monster movies.

Monster Island is a film to watch and to enjoy for the mayhem and the destruction. Watch it to enjoy Eric Roberts bragging about the Navy’s new “sonar weapon.” Watch it for the scene where one person makes the mistake of taunting one of the monsters. Watch it for giant starfish rising out of the ocean and the crashing helicopters.  Get a group of your friends together and enjoy the movie because The Asylum is back and so are the monsters and the helicopters!

Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens

Other reviews:

“While on a technical level there may be a lot wrong here, the film is still quite fun. Since there’s plenty of creature action here, the film’s stellar pacing and tempo is the most impressive facet here with a lot going on. The starfish encounter is nearly twenty minutes into it and is followed up with a nice naval battle with a submarine to get even more action out of the situation early into the film.” Don’s World of Horror and Exploitation

“Lots of words are spoken by many characters of varying degrees of acting ability, because words are cheap and monster battles are pricey […] the monsters looked pretty good, the editing was hectic and simulated action pretty good, once they got out of that damn sub, though I must say the final battle between the starfish and the Living Mountain was a tiny bit anticlimactic.” Film Critics United

“I understand the appeal of a genuine train wreck of a movie. A sincerely meant film that ends up sincerely awful can be fun for all the wrong reasons. But films like Monster Island are cynical efforts, made cheap and with no attempt at quality. I’d rather watch Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster than this crap. The Asylum does come up with the very occasional film that’s watchable such as Triassic World or Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. This isn’t one of them.” Voices from the Balcony

Release:

Mockbuster Monster Island had its premiere on the Syfy channel on June 1, 2019 – to coincide with the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters – and was released on VOD and DVD on June 13.

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