Monsters can be literal or metaphorical, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find which are which in the anthology horror series “Monsterland.”
“Monsterland” is a Hulu original horror anthology released on October 2, 2020. “Monsterland” doesn’t feature monsters in the traditional sense. There is no vicious monster on the loose killing people. Though the atmosphere is eerie, the series doesn’t rely on jump scares to deliver horror.
Instead, “Monsterland” will slowly inject horror into your mind and leave you unsettled for hours after. What’s “Monsterland” all about, and where can you watch it? Read on to find out.
Where Can You Watch “Monsterland?”
The series is absent from the big networks, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, because Hulu has decided to keep “Monsterland” exclusive to its network. You can watch it with any Hulu plan.
What Is “Monsterland” About?
Instead of making your heart pump faster, “Monsterland” puts you into existential dread. Yes, it has monsters, fallen angels, evil mermaids, possessions, and other spooky elements. But after watching the show, you will be left questioning; who is the real monster here, the creatures or the humans?
The creepiest thing about the show is its closeness to reality. You can easily empathize with the tragedies of the characters. Some characters are victims of their circumstances, and some are hostage to their vices.
The show uses mental illness and negative emotions such as grief, helplessness, depression, despair, envy, apathy, greed, and loneliness as a means to show the human capability of acting irrationally or sometimes “monstrously.” Nothing is black and white here. The morality of the characters is left up to you to judge.
Are “Monsterland” Episodes Connected?
“Monsterland” is an anthology series with standalone episodes. You can watch these in any order you wish.
Toni, a character from the first episode does pop up in two more episodes. Moreover, we see some cross-references made in the episodes, such as the Titan International oil spill and politician Skip Fletcher.
The connection between the episodes doesn’t add anything to the series story-wise; however, it adds to the overall gloomy theme of the show. For instance, Toni had her chance at redemption, but later episodes reveal that she hasn’t reformed much.
Is “Monsterland” Worth Watching?
The eight-episode series “Monsterland” is slow-paced. It isn’t the series you would watch to get goosebumps. Few episodes can come across as too stretched-out and not scary enough. If you are doing a horror marathon with friends, skip this one.
Nonetheless, fans of the existential horror genre will appreciate the show’s capability to deliver horror. The almost hour-long episodes are meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and definitely not in one binge-watching sitting.
Some scenes are symbolic, but the simplistic delivery makes comprehending the story effortless. The events and endings are open to interpretation.
The show has an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.6/10 IMDb score.
About the Cast Members of “Monsterland”
The cast of “Monsterland” consists of many new faces and a few established ones. Here’s the list of the key cast members.
Kaitlyn is a renowned actress with numerous TV shows, movies, and awards to her name. Her best films and TV shows include “Short Term 12,” “Unbelievable,” and “Booksmart.” She portrays Toni, a lonely, broke, and depressed single mother in the pilot episode, “Port Fourchon, Louisiana” in “Monsterland.”
Tucker has two decades of acting experience. Some notable mentions include: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” In “Monsterland,” Jonathan acts as the serial killer, “The Blind Butcher.”
Charlotte and Vivian Cabell:
In the first episode, twins Charlotte and Vivian Cabell play Toni’s daughter, Jack. They have also acted in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Charlie debuted as a child actor in the movie “I Am Legend,” and is still active in the industry. He appears in the second episode, “Eugene, Oregon,” playing a teenage boy named Nick Smith. Nick has to drop out of school in favor of working full time after his mother has a stroke.
Nicole Beharie plays the character of a failed mother, Annie, in episode three, “New Orleans, Louisiana.” Annie willingly ignores when her son, George, is harassed by his stepfather. Nicole started her career in 2008 as the lead actress in the movie “American Violet.”
In “Monsterland,” Hamish plays Joe, George’s stepfather, and Annie’s husband. Hamish is best known for his role in “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” He has starred in over 20 movies in his twenty-year career.
Bill is known for playing supporting characters in movies such as “Lincoln,” “Loving,” “Vice,” and “Queen’s Gambit,” etc. In “Monsterland” episode four, titled “New York, New York,” he plays the role of an oil baron, Stanley Price. Stanley is responsible for the Titan International oil spill and has no remorse for his deeds.
Schilling is best known for her role in “Orange Is the New Black.” She started her career in 2007 with the movie “Dark Matter.” Taylor has acted in many movies and shows and has won several awards for her performances since. In “Monsterland” episode five titled “Plainfield, Illinois,” she appears as Kate Feldman, a law student with mental health issues.
Roberta Colindrez made her debut with short movies and got recognition for the musical “Fun Home.” Roberta plays the role of Kate Feldman’s lover and spouse, Shawn Greene. Shawn is jaded about Kate’s suicidal tendencies and mental illness. At one point, she lets Kate commit suicide.
Adria started her acting career with “Wedding in New York,” released in 2015. She has done a few movies and TV shows in the past years, the most recent being Marvel’s “Morbius.” In “Monsterland,” she portrays a mermaid in episode six, “Palacios, Texas.” She can induce hallucinations in nearby humans.
Trieu Tran plays the fisherman Sharko in “Monsterland.” Sharko becomes a victim to the mermaid played by Adria Arjona, which leads to his demise. Tran is known for his role in “Hancock” and “Tropic Thunder.” He has also acted in several TV series, including “Altered Carbon” and “The Newsroom.”
Kelly Marie Tran:
Kelly played Rose Tico in the Star Wars movies, “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker.” She has starred in a few other movies and shows, including “Sorry for Your Loss,” and “XOXO.” Kelly plays the role of Lauren in “Monsterland” episode seven, “Iron River, Michigan.” Lauren is envious of her friend’s life and longs for everything her friend has. After a series of events, her wish comes true.
In episode eight “Newark, New Jersey,” Mike Colter portrays a father named Bryan who has lost his little girl. Bryan still hopes to find her, and his obsession is affecting his married life. He first appeared on television in 2002 and has done many movies and TV shows since, such as “Black and Blue,” “Evil,” and “Halo: Nightfall.”
Adepero has done several short films and a few feature films. She is known for her award-winning performance in the movie “Pariah.” She plays Bryan’s wife Amy in “Monsterland.” Amy is giving her all to move past the loss of her child.
About the Creator of “Monsterland”
Mary Laws is a big fan of the horror and psychological thriller genres. Mary infuses her real-life observations into horror to write stories that reflect the state of society. She feels that even though people try to be perfect, their tendency for violent and abusive behaviors surfaces repeatedly. She also doesn’t shy away from testing her religious beliefs.
Her observations of life serve as inspiration for her best works, “Neon Demon” and “Blueberry Toast.”
The absence of jump scares and cheap thrills in the short story collection “North American Lake Monsters,” by Nathan Ballingrud instantly appealed to Mary. The episodes of “Monsterland” are partially based and deeply inspired by the same book.
She is currently working on the writing and producing the drama series “The Idol,” featuring Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Lily-Rose Depp as leads.
Will There Be a Season 2 of “Monsterland?”
The show will complete its second anniversary in October 2022. We can’t expect the second season to release soon as Hulu has given no official statement about the show’s revival.
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