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Since Evil Dead Rise (2023) back in April last year, movie goers have been intrigued to see Lily Sullivan again after her excellent performance as final girl Beth. Her newest project Monolith, the feature debut from Matt Vesely, is an intriguing thriller that features Sullivan as the only on-screen character, exploring a terrifying conspiracy. Utilising it's single location and dialogue driven plot exceptionally well, Monolith competently delivers scares and tension whilst showcasing a tremendous lead performance.


While trying to salvage her career, a disgraced journalist begins investigating a strange conspiracy theory. However, as the trail leads uncomfortably close to home, she's left to grapple with the lies at the heart of her own story.


Movies featuring just one star rely on a good performance to keep the audience invested – luckily, Lily Sullivan is up to the challenge. Playing a podcaster on the search for a good story in attempt to salvage her career, Sullivan is able to show more range as the plot progresses, and her character delves deeper and deeper into the conspiracy. What starts as pure intrigue and disbelief on her character's part quickly turns into fear and terror, and Sullivan showcases every mood and emotion perfectly. She confidently carries the movie on her shoulders and creates an interesting, engaging character.


As Monolith centres on a podcast being created, the movie is made up of telephone conversations, voice recordings and old home video tapes. Due to this, it is built solely on dialogue. It manages to consistently stay engaging and intriguing, slowly drip-feeding and building on the information it presents to add more to the story as each scene progresses. It's mystery element is meticulously crafted, ensuring the audience want to learn more about the conspiracy at hand, giving us just enough information but leaving us constantly asking questions. It cleverly takes the audience from doubting the information being presented from the interviewees, to believing it could be true, and then being terrified of it – just as any successful documentary/podcast should. Not only is it intriguing but very unique, the story being delved into is unlike anything we've seen before. With elements of sci-fi and paranormal, it's fun to watch a movie that we don't know where it'll end up. The script is tight, sharp and clever.

A fun genre mash-up, Monolith balances it's sci-fi and thriller elements well. The single location makes things feel claustrophobic and tense, as well as keeping us close to the interviewer and seeing the story develop as she does. The visuals are bleak as a cold grey colour palette is opted for, creating a sombre and miserable feel. The mysterious black box being investigated points to perhaps something other-worldly and alien, adding to the unsettling and uncomfortable tone. It even borders on horror at times, particularly during it's third act when the climax hits, with some very creepy visuals and realisations.

As the story moves along, it seems to be quite close to home for the main character, which makes things all the more eerie and fear inducing. As the interviewer starts to unravel, we know we're in for a bumpy ride. It's commendable how horrifying this thing truly is, given that it has a smaller budget, one location and one on-screen performance; it works beautifully as a thriller, and even better as a sci-fi thriller. It's an invasion story with a difference.


It's main goal is to induce fear, tension and uneasiness unto the audience, but Monolith also has quite a lot to say if you're willing to go along for the ride and delve deeper into it's story. Through our morally grey main character, it explores how people profit on the misfortune and terrible experiences of others, and are happy to manipulate stories for a story. It also delves into how far we would go to find the truth, even if it puts ourselves and those close to us in danger. It's other themes are best left unsaid as it's good to uncover them in real time with the character, but Monolith certainly provides a good amount of discourse alongside it's conspiracy.

Whether Monolith sticks the landing or not is down to the individual; it goes a little crazy, and seems to favour shock value amongst anything else. It also relies too heavily on red herrings fairly often, which may turn off some viewers. That being said, Monolith is an engaging, unique and cleverly made single-location thriller, fronted by an excellent performance from Lily Sullivan and a talented voice cast surrounding her. It's a crafty genre blend that does enough to stay on your mind days after viewers, and shows how a low budget can excel when it has creativity behind it. It's tense, it's thrilling and has a satisfying mystery guiding it.


Rating Monolith



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