The Munsters (2022)
Writer: Rob Zombie
Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Daniel Roebuck
I wouldn’t call myself the biggest The Munsters fan, but I did watch the show as a kid. I can’t remember if I watched it as reruns during the day with my day, or if it was part of the Nick at Nite block—which is where I watched a lot of classic TV before going to bed. But, I’m a big enough fan that I was pretty excited to hear they were making a rebooted movie. And I was intrigued by the choice of Rob Zombie as the writer/director for it—maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t recall another comedy thing he’s done.
What’s interesting in this reboot is that it acts as a prequel to everything we know about The Munster family from the series. At the end of the day, The Munsters 2022 film could act as a canon prequel to the original TV series. And as interesting as it is to see how Herman Munster came to be and how he and Lily fell in love, despite The Count’s (not quite yet Grandpa) dislike towards Herman; seeing Zombie’s take on Transylvania is amazing. While campy at times, the look of both Transylvania and its inhabitants feels like it fits right into The Munsters of the 1960s. My only real issue with this idea of Transylvania is why does the rest of the world seem scared of Herman/The Munsters? In my mind, this film takes place in modern times, so surely the world knows of Transylvania’s existence? Though, I suppose there really wasn’t anything that places The Munsters in any specific time period—I honestly can’t remember!
The plot is fairly simple—it’s the story of how Herman Munster came to be, how he and Lily met and fell in love, and how they—along with Lily’s father, The Count—end up leaving Transylvania for America, specifically Mockingbird Heights. In all honestly, the plot is so simple, it sounds like an episode of the original TV show. In fact, that’s kind of what this felt like—the TV show. Which isn’t a bad thing. I’m sure there was a different take on this that would have served a modern audience better, but the fact that The Munsters felt like an extended episode out of the 1960s TV show hits a lot of nostalgia factors.
Zombie’s take on The Munster family falls very close to what we know of them from the TV shows. I thought he made some very interesting choices that made The Munsters feel like it was part of that show, while still being new and fresh. The dialogue felt right at home too, though I will say that Herman’s laugh, while Jeff Daniel Phillips did a great rendition of it, felt overused. All in all, Zombie provided a wonderful pilot episode of what could be a new The Munsters series. Which is part of the problem.
The Munsters was far too long for what it was. Dan Scully mentioned that you could have cut 25 minutes from this easily without losing a line of dialogue. I didn’t pay close enough attention to know if that’s entirely true, but I do believe that this could have been shaved down by 20-30 minutes and the story wouldn’t have changed. Alternatively, give the film some real stakes with bigger conflicts and this would have worked as a nearly 2-hour movie.
Ultimately, I really liked The Munsters. While it was a little long, it was entertaining, to say the least, and brought back one of my favorite American Sitcom families! While I do wish it was a little shorter, I’d love to see Rob Zombie’s take on the next chapter of his version of The Munsters—what is life like in America for this family? And, honestly, in the day and age, we’re in, there is no reason to force that story in a 2-hour movie (that will feel about 30 minutes too long). Hand Zombie the keys for a 10-13 episode limited series and let’s see this family grow!
SCORE: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
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