How do I even begin? Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein is unique in a number of ways. It may be the most bizarre thing to ever show up on Netflix, yet it’s oddities make it enjoyable, hilarious, and ridiculous and a miraculously fun 32 minutes.
It takes the form of a very short mockumentary, integrating comedy and ridiculousness to a fictional story about fictional characters and a fictionalised version of a real person. It follows David Harbour III, played by David Harbour, who delves into his father’s history as an actor and analyses his father’s role in a disastrous televised stage play.
It’s very weird, to say the least. The satirical story kicks off right away and wastes no time in integrating the quirky tone. It has David Harbour III, and us, reviewing a stage play starring David Harbour Jr. (David Harbour) and figuring out exactly what is happening on screen and behind-the-scenes. That’s the outline of the story and it doesn’t get any less vague than that. It sends you down this fictional rabbit hole and lets you run wild… and it’s great. It’s short and concise, so it goes by quickly and doesn’t have time to drag. It’s very odd, quirky, satirical, and will have you asking yourself what is happening on more occasions than one. That’s what makes it fun and special.
The style of humour is not going to capture the attention of most people, but, rather than backing off, it doubles down with the random ridiculousness in the dialogue and series of events. The antics of David Harbour Jr. on stage and his interactions with his cast, as they try to make this dysfunctional play work, make for a number of awkwardly funny moments. Then, the reactions of David Harbour III piecing together his father’s legacy add another layer of comedy on top of the play.
There are a number of subtle hints, references, and jokes about the movie industry, filmmaking, and acting weaved in here and there. The principle of Checkhov’s gun makes an appearance in a few forms and plays into the irony surrounding the principle and its place, or absence, in this mockumentary.
I’ve already mentioned the name David Harbour a number of times already, and get ready for more. David Harbour, obviously, plays multiple roles in this short mockumentary including a fictionalised version of himself and ancestors of that fictionalised version. It’s a different side to David Harbour, seeing him take on this very dry and satirical style of humour across multiple roles. Harbour is the glue holding this whole thing together. His delivery is great and who knew he could stick the landing with this type of humour. He channels the different characters well, and goes full Daniel Day-Lewis in his performance as David Harbour Jr. as Frankenstein.
The other roles in the (short) film are very limited but also add to the story and comedy in different ways. Kate Berlant plays Monica Fulton and Miss Machbeth, Alex Ozerov plays Joey Vallejo and Sal, and Alfred Molina plays Aubrey Fields and Captain in the past events regarding the play. The three of them have some great very awkwardly funny scenes alongside Harbour and play them well. Michael Lerner plays one of the characters in the modern mockumentary sections and he fits in with the tone and style of comedy quite well with a few good lines of dialogue.
There’s not a lot to go into with this short mockumentary because there’s really not a lot in here. But for a short 32 minute Netflix special, it works. It’s funny in its awkwardness and quirkiness, the satire is effective, and the story is just weird enough to still follow and oddly enjoy. It’s the oddest thing I’ve come across on Netflix and David Harbour is great in it across all of his roles.