Prolific self-help and inspirational author Mitch Stockridge earns his inspiration one victim at a time, feeding his muse with a parade of victims. Will the secret to his success catch up to him?
Mitch (Dennis Friebe) was bullied… bad. In flashbacks that recall Stand By Me, a group of young boys corrals him to proceed with the requisite beating that any artistic protagonist might endure. Thankfully he survived to become the handsome self-help author Mitch Stockridge. Still, despite this success, Mitch carries his wounds with him. Okay, more like he stores them in a room in his house in the form of a ravenous monster that demands blood in exchange for ideas and inspiration for his works.
“…charismatic one moment, then creepy the next…”
Writer-director F.C. Rabbath’s latest stab at indie horror is an interesting journey into what makes an artist tick. Mixing elements of Misery, Little Shop of Horrors (the original Roger Corman version) and a sprinkling of The Neon Demon, we follow Mitch as he writes book after book of inspirational tripe while moonlighting as a serial killer and taking care of his invalid father. As the film goes on, the once-lauded writer begins to falter. His bloodthirsty muse upstairs begins to offer critical notes instead of content and our flawed hero spins further out of control.
Friebe carries the film nicely as the duplicitous scribe. He can be charismatic one moment, then creepy the next. Another standout is Nick Leali as the author’s far more grounded, dopey best friend Nick. The two actors have a great chemistry and their scenes are all easily watchable.
“…to dance back and forth between satire and camp…”
We love and support independent horror and cinema. Made from intense passion, and a passion for the craft, we laud effort for more than we care to criticize these gems of celluloid love. However, we do have notes. There is an effort in the script by director Rabbath and Adam Bertocci to dance back and forth between satire and camp. The creature takes a very humorous approach, that could have been a lot of fun. Yet the rest of the movie ignores the camp value and pursues the darker side of the story with a straightforward eye. Either way is right, it’s just that the two don’t exactly mix.
On the plus side, this was a watchable movie by any definition. Engaging story of a man selling his soul for success by way of a nasty monster. We look forward to Rabbath and Friebe’s future efforts. Keep going guys.
A Brilliant Monster (2017) Directed by F.C. Rabbath. Written by F.C. Rabbath, Adam Bertocci. Starring Dennis Friebe, Nick Leali,
5 out of 10