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average rating is 4 out of 5


Brandon Thomas


Posted on:

Feb 16, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Matt Vesely
Written by:
Lucy Campbell
Lily Sullivan

Having already made a strong impression in last year’s Evil Dead Rise, Lily Sullivan delivers an even more impressive performance – and one where she’s the only actor on screen – in Monolith. Sullivan’s command of the screen for the entire 94 minute running time is a testament to her understanding of the material, and how that allows us, the audience, to recognize her character’s (known only as The Interviewer) complex motivations.


Monolith begins with Sullivan’s former journalist holed up in her parents’ luxury vacation home. Nursing an enormously bruised ego after having been fired from her previous job for not fully vetting a source, the Interviewer is desperately hoping for that next big thing that will find her career redemption. The answer is an anonymous email that leads the Interviewer to a woman who once had in her possession a mysterious black brick. As the Interviewer digs deeper, she finds that multiple people in various parts of the world also have these bricks. The more the Interviewer reveals about the bricks and their owners, the more she also starts to succumb to a mysterious force. Is it the influence of the bricks or is the Interviewer’s own hubris and vanity causing her to spiral?


Director Matt Vesley and writer Lucy Campbell are able to wring so much tension out of a single location and a lot of phone interviews. As already noted, much of Monolith’s success rests in Sullivan’s hands. Her isolation as an actress informs the same isolation that the Interviewer is feeling. The audience begins to slowly match the Interviewer’s paranoia and discomfort with the bricks and the strange influence that they seem to have over people. Vesley’s command of tone and mood syncs up perfectly with Sullivan’s captivating performance.


Monolith is the kind of film that teases that it might show its cards but never actually does. For movies that are high on plot this might be a problem, but Monolith is character-centric through and through and the ambiguity only serves the Interviewer as she sinks further and further into obsession with the bricks. In fact, while the finale itself retains that overall ambiguity, it also reveals just how deeply personal the Interviewer’s journey ends up being. It’s a satisfying reveal that isn’t treated as some sort of Shyamalan “surprise,” but instead acts as the final piece to understanding Sullivan’s character and her true motivations.


Monolith is the best kind of slow burn: one that trusts the audience to come along for a satisfying ride, but also delivers enough twists and unsettling scares that even the tiniest amount of boredom never sets in.

About the Film Critic
Brandon Thomas
Brandon Thomas
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film
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