Ella Balletine in The Monster.

The Monster is a minimalist horror film that mixes elements of Cujo, Alien and Ghostbusters—the latter because the title monster looks a lot like a greasier version of the demon dog Rick Moranis transformed into in the comedy classic.

There’s nothing funny about the terrible road trip for Kathy (Zoe Kazan) and daughter Lizzy (Ella Balletine). They have a blowout on a rainy night in the middle of nowhere. Their car hits a wolf—a bloody wolf—and Lizzy makes the keen observation that something must’ve driven it to run in front of their car. Well, she’s very right: There’s a monster in the woods, and it wants to not only eat them, but anybody who tries to help them.

Writer-director Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) has made a decent creature feature here, one that is as much of a mother-daughter drama (there are plenty of flashbacks showing their troubled times) as it is a flick about a monster. Kazan is damn good here; she continues to be one of the more under-appreciated actresses in movies today. (She must get some more higher profile roles!) Balletine is every bit her match as a daughter who has much more common sense than her mother.

The movie clocks in at 91 minutes, but it feels longer than that due to some stretches that are drawn out a bit. Still, it enough works to qualify The Monster as yet another decent movie in the resurgent horror genre.

The Monster is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.