Party Monster

Critics Consensus

The lurid display of camp soon turns tedious.



Total Count: 79


Audience Score

User Ratings: 36,803
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Movie Info

Set in the New York club scene of the late 1980's thru the 1990's, a tale which chronicles the rise and fall of "club-kid" promoter Michael Alig, a party organizer, whose extravagant life was sent spiraling downward when he boasted on television that he had killed his "friend", roommate, and drug dealer, Angel Melendez. Originally from Indiana, Alig moved to New York, and came to be an underground legend, known for his excessive drug use and outrageous behavior in the club world. At his peak, he had his own record label, and magazine, and hosted Disco 2000, one of the biggest club nights in New York in the '90s. He was doing a lot of drugs, and as his addiction got worse, his party themes became darker and more twisted. Alig's saga reached its tragic crescendo when he viciously murdered his drug dealer, Angel, by injecting him with Drano and throwing him in the East River. The power he wielded on the club scene made him feel untouchable, so he didn't hesitate to boast of the murder. The press thought it was a publicity stunt--until Angel's body washed ashore.


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Critic Reviews for Party Monster

All Critics (79) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (56)

  • There isn't an ounce of genuine affection on display.

    Mar 12, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • It's the drunk-guy- at-the-party syndrome: The only one truly entertained by the clown with the lamp shade on his head is the clown with the lamp shade on his head -- or folks similarly inebriated.

    Dec 12, 2003 | Rating: 2/4
  • A mess.

    Dec 5, 2003 | Rating: C-
  • We begin the film not knowing what brought Michael and James together. We end, after a too-long 98 minutes, precisely the same way.

    Nov 14, 2003 | Rating: 1.5/4
  • In the end, for all the vibrancy, there's not much there there. Maybe that's the point, but I doubt it.

    Nov 7, 2003 | Rating: 2/4
  • You haven't seen this many outrageous costumes since the Halloween parade on Cedar Springs.

    Nov 6, 2003 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Party Monster

  • Dec 08, 2012
    Funny, self aware, and sometimes absurdly campy, Party Monster is a different sort of fact based crime drama. The humor mostly works, simply because it's so daring, and seems to have the right sort of actors for the job. The performances themselves seem befitting of the film's tone, with Macaulay Culkin certainly having some stilted moments, but it seems to work for his character, and is, perhaps, at least somewhat intentional. The story-line itself takes a while to find its footing, and the third act never seems to really have the climax that it should. We never fully get a sense of why Culkin's character did what he did. This also speaks to the film's thin characterizations, we never fully emotionally empathize with them. However, the film does enough right to make it watchable, with some good humor, a few good dramatic scenes, and some wild performances. 3/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 05, 2012
    The main word that truly describes this film is gross. Everything about this film is off-putting, over-the-top, and frightfully grotesque. This ranges from the digital format and lack of cinematography to the animatronic performances from the cast. The first thing that you're hit with is the bothersome way both Alig (Culkin) and St. James (Green) are represented in the film. Both of them have airy, worthless personalities, and are shown as dramatic homosexuals at every turn. Their costumes, makeup, and love for the disgusting and dramatic isn't indicative of this assessment, but the personalities of Alig and St. James are non-existent except for catty remarks. Culkin flies through the entire film without really showing who Alig was. Though he becomes drug addled, star struck, and obviously malicious in the way he grapples to the top of the food chain, there isn't any base for where his motivations come from. He hinders the plot at most times by being petty and doesn't like to be vulnerable, yet we as the audience aren't sure where that weakness stems from. St. James and Alig's relationship is mostly impeded by their own pride and haughty attitudes towards each other, and while they pretend to be calculating and mean, they come off as trashy drag queens throughout. The party atmosphere of the eighties and nineties was represented in costuming and club scenes, but because of the shoddy way they shot this film there's no real setting. You get a general understanding of how Alig operated, why he was paid such large sums of money, and why he rose to prominence, but his actual reach throughout the club scene was not shown. This film needed to be bigger in order to truly tell this story. The costumes were very ingenious and interesting, but because of the lack of cinematography they looked like homemade Halloween costumes. The end of the film really baffles, because it neither explains what really happened to Alig and St. James (who are real people) or why we should care. It's a very convoluted and annoying kind of film, and felt longer than it actually was. This film does not reflect what it was trying to say, and the people trying to say it weren't all that talented to begin with.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 18, 2011
    Based on the true life story of infamous "club kid" Micahel Alig, this film saw Macaulay Culkin return to films after a long absence, ready to put his child star image to rest. In that regard, this is a successful film, and his performance is quite good. The other performances aren't too shabby either, and the cast has lots of recognizables in it, including a small appearance by a delightfully nutty Marilyn Manson. As a bio pic, this is some fairly standard stuff, and not all that remarkable. The film has a nice visual style, and the costumes and makeup are pretty top notch. Had things not been quite so by the numbers, this would be a far better film. As it stands though, this is a decent, but largely unremarkable film, saved mostly by the performances, which is the primary reason you should give it a watch.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2010
    Interesting story, but the cinematography is very low budget.
    Sean G Super Reviewer

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