Monolith Blu-ray Review


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Matt Vesely
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Lily Sullivan
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ R (Restricted)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ Australia
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Blu-ray
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 34 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ April 23, 2024

        Independent genre films often face the difficult task of competing with the large budgets afforded similar films produced with studio money. Because of this, independent filmmakers have to get even more creative with their narratives and the execution of genre expectations. While Monolith creates an effective chamber piece out of common science-fiction narrative tropes, with only slight variation, the execution is about as exciting as one might expect from a film set entirely in a single location.


        In addition to having little variety in setting, the narrative only includes one visible character, with voices on the telephone serving as the primary source of tension. While this can work, it is rare for a film with this many restrictions to be as effective as one with a less gimmicky narrative framework. The film joins an unnamed disgraced journalist (Lily Sullivan) who has retreated to her parents’ remote estate to work on an investigative piece for an online website. After being sent an anonymous tip about a mysterious black brick, the journalist discovers a trend in these mysterious devices showing up for decades, with nobody able to provide answers about their origin or function.


        Although the film is slow to reveal information, all conveyed through phone conversation rather than visual storytelling, it is clear early on that are either supernatural or extraterrestrial explanations are implied. When the film finally does reveal answers to the mystery, they are sadly derivative. Despite initially appearing to be a unique concept, once the secrets of the black bricks are finally revealed to the interviewer, the resulting climax is not much different than any number of Invasion of the Body Snatchers rip-offs.


        Fans of low budget sci-fi are likely to appreciate the quiet ambition of Monolith, even if it requires more patience than the average movie-goer is likely accustomed to from a genre film. The film also features an impressive performance from Sullivan, who is only helped by a handful of voices on the other end of phone calls. While I had hoped for a more suspenseful climax and more satisfying resolution, Monolith is not without its charms.


        The Blu-ray release for Monolith has a surprisingly decent collection of special features, though there is little need for high-definition presentation in this simplistic narrative. In addition to a promotional behind-the-scenes featurette, the Blu-ray also includes a commentary track featuring writer Lucy Campbell, producer Bettina Hamilton, and director Matt Vesely. There is also a trailer.


Entertainment Value: 5/10

Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

Historical Significance:  3/10

Special Features: 7.5/10

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