April 13, 2024

MONOLITH: Follow the Black Brick Road

MONOLITH (Blu-ray)
2022 / 94 min
Review by Mr. Bonnie😺

In Monolith, Lily Sullivan plays the only on-screen character, who’s never named and simply identified in the end credits as The Interviewer. She’s a journalist who soiled her reputation by publishing an incendiary story without verifying her sources. Moving back into her parents’ house, she now hosts a podcast where she skeptically entertains conspiracy theories and regularly takes calls from a variety of crackpots.

A cryptic email puts her in contact with Floramae, a former housekeeper who recounts events from 20 years ago, when her employers fired her and kept a mysterious black brick she found while working there, later selling it to an art dealer. Floramae is convinced the brick was actually meant for her, and for reasons she can’t explain, losing it changed her life. The Interviewer contacts the art dealer next, who explains that many others have acquired similar bricks, each with markings that seem to be intended for those they end up with. 

None of these people know exactly how they came in possession of a brick, though it’s revealed later in the story. So is the ultimate purpose of these bricks, which I won’t reveal here. What transpires is an interesting, sometimes ominous one-sided investigation by The Interviewer, who becomes increasingly distraught when it connects to her personally. 

Maybe using Gorilla Glue to stick all this up was a bad idea.
For the most part, Monolith is engaging lo-fi sci-fi built around a dedicated performance from Sullivan. Taking place almost entirely within the confines of a house, it’s driven by intriguing ideas and intelligent writing, though the denouement might be seen as sort of a letdown, since it bears more than a passing resemblance to the basic concept The Ring…with a little Invasion of the Body Snatchers tossed in. 

But as they say…sometimes the journey matters more than the destination. As such, Monolith gets high marks for methodically building tension and establishing its only character as more than a simple investigator (without giving too much away, one ultimately might even see The Interviewer as the villain). Derivative conclusion notwithstanding, this Australian film is a great example of thought provoking, horror-tinged sci-fi on a limited budget.



AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Matt Vesely, writer Lucy Campbell and producer Bettina Hamilton


No comments: