|year: 1988 cast: Jason Behe, John Pankow, Joyce Van Patten rating: ***|
Jason Beghe’s extremely fake-looking beard (grown after the accident) aside, the muscular actor plays the part of a bed-ridden victim decently enough, but it’s Boo, as the spunky monkey Ella, that steals the show.
Scenes involving the monkey-eye-view of the frantic romps through the suburbs to finish anyone that made Beghe’s life uncomfortable – this including a cheating girlfriend, a seedy doctor, a vicious parakeet and a henpecking mother – provide fun and involving fare, as does the initial setup as the monkey takes to the contained setting… the house where the bed-ridden patient resides… to learn how to become an assistant.
Our hero realizes too quickly that the Monkey’s up to no good, and there could have been a lot more grizzly deaths before the tables turn. John Pankow's subplot, as the friendly but ultimately devious young professor continuously inoculating Ella, is an essential device: but his selfish triads deviates from the mainline story, too quickly veering into the “We must stop the antagonist at all costs” territory, making the final third a drawn-out, tiresome battle between man and beast. Yet despite the flaws, Romero provides a creepy setting that works throughout.