|MOVIE DETAILS |
• Name: Monolith
• Year: 2022
• Country: Australia
• Director: Matt Vesely
• Main cast: Lily Sullivan
• Runtime: 86 minutes
• Production company: Black Cat White Rabbit Productions, The South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide Film Festival
Since the first moment I saw the science-fiction movie Monolith (2022) was going to be part of the line-up of the Sitges Film Festival this year, it became one of my priority films to add to my watch list. The premise was exciting, involving a sinister mystery and a possible alien invasion, and the one-only star setup of Lily Sullivan, who is one of the attractive names in the horror scene thanks to her participation in Evil Dead Rise (2023), gave it a refreshing narrative style that is not so common to see.
The feeling while watching the movie brings the essence of the classic The X-Files (1993–2018), with strange artifacts appearing in mysterious ways to a series of characters with disturbing experiences and the path the skeptic podcaster is going through, from taking the story as a scam to fearing for her own fate threatened by those supernatural events that are taking over her life.
And here this is what we get, the spot we take as the audience because the entire screen time we see share with the main character the arrival of the quest, the interviewing of her contacts that we can only meet as a voice through the telephone, and the collecting the series of leads and facts at the same time she does. It is true that as an interviewer my inquiries might have taken other paths, since the whole piece of a film is an interviewing game, but, in the end, the clues and the facts are just what they are.
It is interesting to see how the director Matt Vesely plays with us as the watching audience in choosing the location the entire film takes place in. The podcaster spends the entire time in her parents’ home, a very fancy curtain-wall house in the middle of the mountains that becomes some kind of a glass jail between her comfort zone and the mysterious exterior that with the passing of the running time becomes more of a threat. And that is an element the director exploits very consciously, knowing how the eyes of the spectator are going to be out there analyzing every single cloud, every moving tree, every exterior element the protagonist seems to be unaware of. Because that is the nature of the movie spectators, we want to see what is going on even before the characters of the story find it out. And in Monolith (2022) which is played with high efficiency.
During the first steps of the movie, my eyes were glued to the screen, with chills of excitement on my body in some instances. I could feel how I was totally loving that mystery, that setup, the frenzy of the investigation, the strange bricks that are the key of the plot, as fascinating as scary. Those little versions of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), from unknown origins but alive, not inanimate objects but pieces of matter that can communicate with whoever has the gift or the curse to be chosen as the owner.
But it comes to a point where the great ideas don’t flow anymore and the intriguing plot gets stuck. Or, maybe, I just didn’t like what direction the filmmakers decided to take when the closure for the movie was getting closer. And in a movie like Monolith (2022) where the simplicity and proximity of the approach take you as the audience to be part of the story, so you’re not only a mere spectator, which makes the disappointment of disliking the final destination of the trip a little bit more painful.
But that is very unfair. Although after finishing the watch I walked out of the theater with a feeling of disappointment, only because I got disattached on the final 15 or 20 minutes of the running time, it is unjust to stay with a negative view of a movie that provided one of the most exciting science-fiction mysteries I have seen in the last couple of years. And if you, whether or not have read this article, have seen the movie Monolith (2022) and have been into it from the beginning until the end, I must say that I envy you because this was a great piece of a mystery, scary at times, intriguing in total, very cinematographical and yet minimalistic, and, overall, with an exciting subject that must be a sweet candy for the fans of thrilling science-fiction.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt18298588