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A Brilliant Monster (2017) Review

A Brilliant Monster is an upcoming thriller about matters of inspiration and the burdens of creativity, and the monster that feeds on both.

The process of creativity and its seemingly fickle flair for scarcity have long been source for great cinema, from Barton Fink to Secret Window to many more, most putting the artist in search of it on a dark, sometimes distressing journey toward success, usually at a great price. Now comes F.C. Rabbath‘s twisted A Brilliant Nightmare, a chilling, ambitious Independent film that does the genre right, taking smart risks that offer plenty of challenges, never compromising for a moment the promise of its premise. This is a terrific movie.

Mitch (Dennis Friebe) is a highly successful self-help author, famous for having what seems like an endless source of original ideas. Honestly, he’s practically accosted wherever he goes by fans of all ages who claim he’s saved their lives. He lives with his bedridden cantankerous father and is in love with a beautiful girl named Sophie (Alea Figueroa), even though he cheats on her a lot. He’s under a great of pressure to keep writing, his agent looking for him to fulfill his contractual agreements, but he’s become a bit stifled of late … despite how much he feeds the monster in the upstairs bedroom that gives him ideas. 

You read that right. A large, toothy creature sits in the corner in the room at the top of stairs and Mitch keeps it in good supply of bodies, mostly girls he picks up at bars and hookers off the street. He calls the monster ‘me’ in a nod to what it implies, as each time the beast chews up a victim, it spits out a wadded piece of paper with inspiration for his writing. The problem is that the nameless girls don’t offer much and so he takes to offing more personal targets. All the while, he faces his father (David Raizor), who seems at every opportunity to belittle his son, and a determined detective named Abby (Joy Kigin), who sees a pattern in the growing number of missing persons, all leading to Mitch.  

You might be getting a Little Shop Of Horrors vibe out of all that, and you wouldn’t be too far off in thinking it, though this is not quite the dark comedy that story is. We barely get a glimpse at the actually ‘monster’ here, mostly seeing it from inside its mouth looking out, though a blink or you’ll miss it moment reveals a bit more. Rabbath, who co-wrote the screenplay with Adam Bertocci, seems to know he’s treading on a very thin line and to his credit, walks it with a pretty ballsy style. For a film with barely a budget, this is some very good storytelling and Rabbath does great things with his camera, including a devastating callback moment to a childhood bully moment played in his imagination as an adult. It’s good stuff.

There’s a lot of ambiguity to A Brilliant Monster, even as some moments seem extremely concrete, but there is no doubt we’re being played by a film full of metaphorical tricks. And that’s a very good thing. Rabbath makes sure there are no missing pieces in this puzzle, even as the final image is left for us to decide. It raises some interesting questions and should inspire some curious conversations. We are sure of one thing though, maybe we all have a room at the top of the stairs.

There’s something about a clever mind-bender that I can’t help but fall sucker for, and it’s been a good year for them so far. A Brilliant Monster adds to the list, an intelligent, well-directed and acted film that is a good bit of fun as well. Highly recommended.

A Brilliant Monster is expected to release soon.

A Brilliant Monster (2017) Review

Movie description: A Brilliant Monster is an upcoming thriller about matters of inspiration and the burdens of creativity, and the monster that feeds on both.

Director(s): F.C. Rabbath

Actor(s): Bill Kelly, Evette Young, Joy Kigin

Genre: Thriller

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  1. supyrfreak September 28, 2017