Directed by: #RahulNath
Sometimes the best films are those that slowly unfold and hold back their intention until the right time and the best examples of these works are often found in horror tales. In fact, with films like Hereditary and Suspiria finding an audience lately, it seems that many filmmakers are relishing telling more methodical stories of slowly escalating terror and fears in a society that often favours cheap, fast, thrills. Some of the very best films of this ilk happen to be emerging too from the fertile grounds of the international market. Years ago, such diverse voices were being overpowered but it seems the reach of cinema is extending more than ever before and so too is the variety of stories being relayed. So as some genres are being revitalised by this global power, we are seeing some very interesting works and artists emerge.
Off the back of films like Let The Right One In, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and Under the Shadow, comes many a fresh take on different designations of horror and Rahul Nath’s new short film Monster sets strong foundations for another. Excitingly suggesting this with a “Part I” sub-heading, Monster is a film that, despite only being 11 minutes in length, has no fear taking its time to unveil its identity and, when it does, the revelation is satisfying and effective.
The film tells the story of a father and his young daughter that bond over sinister plans, with just one unlucky man being witness to them. To talk more about what goes down would be to take away from the film’s carefully constructed pace and telling of Rahul Nath and Kshitij Salve’s story, which is credited as being inspired by Christopher Kai’s short story “The Violinist”. From the start, this film is less concerned with full-blooded scares, more than it is with an uncomfortably realistic and – for some time – ambiguous atmosphere.
The moment you see the adult and the girl, you know something unsettling is afoot but your mind runs wild questioning just what that is and this central relationship is well conveyed by the terrific leads. The music by Lai adds further layers of unease, as does the socially realistic backdrop it is all taking place in, captured brilliantly by director of photography Yuvraj Jadeja (assistant DOP Sameer). True, the final cut-scene adds a little bit of a disruptive effect to the flow of the plot and the third character onscreen lacks some focus but Monster’s writing and ambitions to tell a slow build story shine through.
The end leaves things undeniably open for more to follow but altogether Monster is a short that comes from a quality filmmaker who is happy to build his story carefully, thoughtfully and leave the audience thinking and questioning all the way. Great stuff, that I hope we see more of.