A confusing and painful take on the old TV comedy

If there’s any value in ‘The Munsters’, it can only be for die-hard fans of Rob Zombie, best known in the horror genre for more extreme endeavors like ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ or his two films. “Halloween” only for this so-called family film. (There are a few risque attempts at humor, but nothing remotely awful.) Right from the start, there are a handful of notable horror movie tropes or references, from a date to the blind, Lily continues with a Count Orlok, who looks… well, exactly like the main character of the German horror classic “Nosferatu”, to “Frankenstein” references in the first 20 minutes, to a possible appearance by Cassandra Peterson, better known as Elvira, Mistress of Darkness. The references are easy enough to spot, but it’s hard to see anything other than being rewarded for having some cultural know-how.

Performances – for evil, though trying for good – all approach different levels of camp. Both Roebuck and Brake seem to grasp the movie they’re in, and so their over-the-top performances seem suited to the material given to them. (The same goes for Garcia, who is mostly in the first third, before becoming one of the many characters who come from… you know, leaves because they have nothing else to do.) Phillips leans very heavily into the bad comedy styles of almost all of Herman’s lines, which both meet the material where it lands and also often extremely painful to watch, especially given the slow-paced thump of each scene. Sheri Moon Zombie, too, has an overly theatrical way of reading every line, but in a way that matches every slanted angle and attempt to be weird, from costumes to production design.

It’s hard not to let your mind wander a bit while watching ‘The Munsters’, so it’s only fitting that this movie is going straight to Netflix, which has plenty of movies and shows tailor-made for you to multitask on the go. place to pay special attention. So it’s hard not to wonder who this movie is for. Are modern children chomping at the bit for a “Munsters” movie? Do Rob Zombie fans want to see him working in PG mode? Maybe they will, and maybe they’ll accept this as a movie that’s so bad it’s good, or a movie where badness is the goal. (Gee, it would be nice if an attempt at a movie was good, though.) But the coy way in which “The Munsters” was produced, from its meandering start to its abrupt end, implies that it exists to mark a check on a checklist, to make sure Universal Pictures has proven they’ve finally squeezed out some more IP. What a disconcerting and awkward film.

/Movie rating: 2 out of 10

Kimberly B. Nguyen