Monolith: Review

Monolith: Review

Monolith: Review. By Joe Muldoon.

A young journalist (Lily Sullivan), known as ‘The Interviewer’, has recently been publicly disgraced and sacked from a newspaper for ethical misconduct. Hiding away at her parents’ isolated home and attempting to claw back any semblance of a journalistic career, she launches an unsolved mystery podcast called Beyond Believable. She scours her emails for any possible stories, and the search is surprisingly fruitful.

Hidden amongst a slew of interview requests and vitriolic hate mail is a story about a woman who possesses a peculiar object – an object that apparently ruined her life. The journalist naturally smells the potential in the story, and so sets about calling the woman. What follows is the beginning of a bizarre mystery that gradually unravels itself throughout the film.

Over the phone, the woman talks of how she acquired the ominous brick around twenty years ago, and how sickness and a series of visions followed – that is, until it was stolen and sold to a German art dealer. The journalist promptly calls the art dealer, whose phone manner is frankly creepy. Being the unethical person she is, she has recorded the entire conversation (initially without consent), and soon edits it into the debut episode of her new podcast.

To her delight, the podcast is incredibly well received, and soon follows a rapid influx of stories from others who have also received these eerie black bricks. As is expected with the internet, conspiracy theories begin to fly around, most of which are outrageously outlandish. The newfound podcaster only encourages it – that is, until she herself receives a package on her doorstep. Just what are these bricks?

Set almost entirely in a single room, Monolith is a masterclass in how to do more with less. Far from purely being a sci-fi mystery, director Matt Vesely and writer Lucy Campbell have created a film that astutely speaks to contemporary society. Incrementally unfurling the mystery through a series of recordings and conversations, Monolith examines our relationship with information and speculation on the internet. Generating a sublimely ambiguous atmosphere, it leaves the audience mostly in the dark, our own imaginations creating much of the horror.

By Joe Muldoon

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