In case you’ve ever wondered what an allegorical story about the history of the United States would look like if it were told in the form of a polyamorous gay romantic comedy, you might be surprised to find that you’re not alone.
Filmmaker Ryan Lonergan has done more than wonder about it – he’s made a film based on exactly that premise. “Kill the Monsters,” which drops in February, follows three New York men living in a polyamorous relationship who set off across the country when their youngest member becomes “unwell,” seeking a holistic cure from a Santa Monica doctor. Along the way, they encounter a series of female characters whose interactions with them mirror US history – while also playing out realistically in an entirely contemporary setting.
Lonergan, who wrote, directed and starred in the movie as well as co-producing it, says he came up with the idea when he was revisiting the George Orwell classic, “Animal Farm,” and was inspired by the novel’s shrewd use of allegory in exploring the rise of Communism through a story about barnyard animals.
“It made me want to explore the evolution of democracy in the United States in a similar way,” the first-time director explains, “only my film would use humans rather than farm animals for protagonists. I wanted to ask: if democracy is the final evolution of government, as so many philosophers claim it to be, then why is it so ineffective at serving the people? If one watches the men in this film and wonders why they stay together, one must also question the same for these united states. Why should we stay together? How did we get here? What, if anything, can be done to improve the situation?”
If all of that sounds like more than you want from a romantic comedy, don’t worry. The director also assures us that his film is “a road movie centering around the preservation of a long term relationship” that never overtly concerns itself with politics or history, saying that those connections are made “through allegory and humor.”
Besides Lonergan, the film stars Garrett McKechnie and Jack Ball as the other points of the triad, whose cross-country journey takes them from hot sex in their luxurious NYC apartment, through a road trip that erupts in a conflict that may divide their union, to a high-pressure all-out poker war with scheming European lesbians. On the 2018 festival circuit, it was an official selection at dozens of fests, including Frameline42, Raindance Film Festival, and the Seattle Queer Film Festival.
It becomes available on DVD and VOD platforms February 18. You can watch the trailer below.