Dallas (Jack Samson) has had anything but a smooth teenage upbringing in Monsters Of California. His dad, a pilot working for the military, disappeared years ago. Dallas is still trying to cope and not give up hope that he’ll figure out what really happened. It doesn’t help that his mom Leah (Arianne Zucker) is trying to move on, dating someone else. On top of that, his sister Meg (Camille Kostek) consistently judges the hijinks Dallas and his friends get in to. Arguably with good reason.
Dallas and his two best friends Toe (Jack Lancaster) and Riley (Jared Scott) have an interesting idea of a good time. The three of them, mostly led by Dallas’ passion, are constantly trying to explain the unknown. Whether that be ghosts or UFOs, they will be there attempting to get video evidence. Their three person Wolfpack grows by 1 when Kelly (Gabrielle Haugh) moves to town and Dallas immediately falls for her. Dallas & co stumble on to some of his father’s old files, leading them to Dr. Walker (Richard Kind) for more answers. As they get closer to the truth, more obstacles and dangers present themselves – but Dallas is determined to not let anything stop him.
Tom DeLonge directed Monsters of California as well as cowrote the film with Ian Miller. This was Miller’s debut as well as DeLonge’s feature length writing and directing debut. DeLonge had written and directed prior projects, but they were shorts. DeLonge is best known for his time spent as the guitarist and one of the signers of Blink 182. Him leaving the band, twice, to pursue his passion for space and UFOs shook the band’s fan base. DeLonge co-founded To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Sciences, an organization to help further those passions. Now turning to film, Monsters Of California is a natural outlet for DeLonge.
Monsters Of California does not reinvent the wheel or add anything revolutionary to the sci-fi genre. However, the film is enjoyable and paces itself well. The acting is nothing to write home about, but DeLonge and Miller’s script keeps the audience committed and entertained. They provide a good blend of humor and action throughout. Not only does one need to suspend their disbelief with the subject matter, but with how certain aspects of the film unwind. Some instances are so nonsensical, they detract from the film. The potential was there and DeLonge and Miller certainly push many of the right buttons. Yet when the dust settles, there are ultimately too many missteps throughout the film that really hold it back.