Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Monolith is a solid thriller

Rising scream queen Lily Sullivan teams up with first-time director Matt Vesel for the latest spookfest, “Monolith”, from Well Go USA. The screenplay hails from Lucy Campbell. At the center of the plot is a nameless protagonist, a disgraced journalist portrayed by Lily Sullivan, who is desperate to restore her reputation and redeem her career.

To achieve her goal, the journalist investigates a bizarre conspiracy theory and interviews guests who have had firsthand experiences with it. However, the investigation turns unexpectedly when the trail leads uncomfortably close to home. As she delves deeper into the mystery, the journalist is forced to confront her past and the lies she has told herself and others.

One of the first things potential viewers should know about the film is that it has one actor and was shot in one location. Monolith is deeply grounded in an isolated family home’s looming, forbidding ambiance. This narrative approach proves poignant due to the irrefutable reality that each person perceives and interprets information depending on their personal beliefs and desires—this propensity intensifies when one is in solitude. Lily Sullivan delivers a stellar performance as an ambitious journalist whose identity, founded upon affluence and scholarship, has been tainted by a prior ordeal.

Consequently, she gradually immerses herself in suspicion and deceptive ideologies. It’s noteworthy that her mental destabilization resonates viscerally via the depiction of significant physical deterioration—an elemental nuance that enhances the depth of character portrayal. The strategic cinematography, coupled with the adept usage of soundtracks, expertly amplifies tension within comparatively restrictive settings.

Nevertheless, mainstream viewers may feel that “Monolith” falls short of maintaining comprehensive dramaturgic structuring. Initially portrayed as level-headed, the protagonist rapidly transforms into an unwavering believer in conspiracy theories—a development too abrupt for coherent storytelling progression. As sequences unfold further into the narrative arc, it becomes apparent that “Monolith” suffers from sluggish plot advancement contrived primarily through monologues or telephone interactions—elements inadequate at compensating for the absence of additional characters pivotal to inducing diversified conflicts or stimulating dynamics within the screenplay fabrications. Despite this, cinephiles should appreciate the film for the strength of our lead.

Lily Sullivan’s capacity to captivate the audience is crucial in driving the narrative structure that may seem stagnant. Her ability to hold the audience’s attention not only keeps them engaged but also helps propel the storyline forward. She succeeds by giving a compelling performance that draws the viewer in and keeps them invested in the story.

Final Grade: B

“MONOLITH” is in theaters and on digital February 16, 2024.

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Monolith is a solid thriller