A Brilliant Monster ReviewBy Jack for Reviews
I like Indy films. If I had the choice of the latest summer blockbuster from the main stream studios, or a indy film; I will chose the indy film every time. When the big studios put out movies, it relies on huge stars, multi-million dollar effects, and a budget that is more than most people make in a lifetime. They do this most of the time to cover up 3 valuable things. Acting, story, and heart. This is what makes indy films shine. They have heart and soul of everyone working on the film. Add a good story, and it creates not just a movie, but moving art.
“So where do you get your ideas from?” It’s the universal question asked of practically every writer during their careers, a question which is either unanswerable or best responded to with sarcasm. This is the main premise that provided the power behind F.C. Rabbath’s surreal(maybe, maybe not. That is up to debate) and engrossing movie. A Brilliant Monster, a psychological horror which examines the muse of creativity and also the obsessions which motivates the creative persons mind. Dennis Friebe’s persuasive charm(like Jack the Ripper) dominates as Mitch Stockbridge, successful writer of self-help books who is ready to make his big breakthrough. The whole world seems to be against him, from his demanding literary agent(Susan Morgan), his cantankerous, semi-bedridden father(David Raizor); who refuses to admit his son’s success, his friend/ex-girlfriend Sophie(Alea Figueroa); who he’s cheating on with random hookers and bar pick-ups, and the hounding police investigator(Joy Kigin). At a book signing one of his fans ask him the dreaded question, little do they realize the terrible truth. Surely the Police won’t be tempted to take seriously the claim from Mitch’s ex-girlfriends. Can his best friend(Nick Leali) help him through the rough times. Plus, Valentin Boomes score is haunting as it elevates every scene with heightened emotions.
Despite its small budget, A Brilliant Monster is a bold and surprisingly smooth production. At it’s core is a journey into the stressful depths of the creative mind, the lengths that one goes through for success, and the anxiety to keep on top. Is it mental instability? Or is society built to reward the egocentric? A Brilliant Monster is equivocal and that’s its real strength. Mitch is a horrible man, a user who does terrible things and yet somewhere very deep down we sympathize with and in some weird way, even possibly admire him. A Brilliant Monster raises above many under-the-radar indies. It’s confident and genuinely cinematic through it’s visual ambition and is shot through with black humour as it poses a few interesting questions about exactly what powers the minds of those gifted(tormented) by the gift of creativity. Being both a horror tale of a Faustian pact with evil and as an allegory for how willing we are to destroy others in the quest for fame and fortune. It uses the sacrifice of friendships, family, and romantic relationships and expresses them in more literal ways.
"A Brilliant Monster" near perfectly embodies what a true psychological horror film should be. Less of the "actual" sight seeing and more character building and concepts. Bare bones: If you like horror films that actually try and get into your mind; then this ones for you. Technically, there really is a lot to praise here. Angles, lighting and the editing itself all compliment one another as they should. Never does one production element attempt to stand on it own, rather they all work together. Things are not perfect, but can they really be. From our lead character Mitch, to our leading lady investigating him, everyone plays their parts so well. Since this film has a larger than normal cast, for an indie film, nobody stood out as fake or hollow. Everyone appeared as they were seemingly intended, making the world they live feel that much more real.
You got it kiddies. I really enjoyed this film. I think many fans of the genre will as well. This is one of those rare indie films, that transcended the sum of it's collective parts.
A solid 4.5 change of pants out of 5.