MONOLITH (2022) Review by Steve Kirkham


    MONOLITH (2022)

    4 stars
    Blue Finch Film Releasing. Digital Platforms. Out Now
    A black screen. A man is talking. “I want to tell you a story…” The screen remains blank for longer than is normal, making you feel uncomfortable. Slowly, very slowly it fades in to a close-up of a microphone. These opening minutes encapsulate the feeling engendered by this low key, engrossing sci-fi mystery – a creeping sense of tension pervades.
    Lily Sullivan plays a character who is only identified as The Interviewer. She’s a journalist who made a mistake in her previous job by not corroborating her sources – she is now stuck trying to create content for a mystery podcast called Beyond Believable – which looks into strange phenomena. Frustrated by her new position, she receives an anonymous email which simply has a name (with a picture of that person) plus the words ‘The Brick’, and a phone number. Could this be the start of a new story?
    She calls the number and thus begins an investigative journey to try and find out just what ‘The Brick’ might be. As her podcast numbers begin to tick up, she is drawn into a mystery which may well impact her own life.
    This was presumably shot during Covid in Australia – though it is only now seeing release, possibly due to Sullivan’s starring role in Evil Dead Rise. She is excellent here and carries the film, as she is the only person seen on-screen, with all the other participants being the voices of those she is interviewing.
    Working alone from her parents flashy and remote home, this is a science fiction conspiracy drama, cleverly scripted by Lucy Campbell, which uses this isolation to its advantage as the camera prowls and focuses on her as she gets deeper and deeper into the unfolding enigmatic puzzle. Matt Vesely, in his feature film directing debut, has created a movie that grips and sucks you in with the script keeps you guessing and even wondering whether it is all in her head. Considering the limitations of both locale and framework this is never less than fascinating and compelling.
    Steve Kirkham


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