Impossible Monsters, written and directed by Nathan Catucci, is a psychological thriller loosely inspired by the words of Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. Themes of dominance and submission both in relationships and otherwise are teased out and played with. When nightmares and sleep paralysis begin to plague many people, and one professor seeks to study their cause. But during his sleep study, one of the patients is murdered. Soon reality and dreams begin to blur into a haze of delirious confusion, heightening the intensity of what may or may not be happening.
The acting from everyone involved is worthy of commendation, particularly the performance of Dónall Ó Héalai as Otis, the tortured artist. He straddles the line of charming and concerning to chilling effect. And the inclusion of Dennis Boutskaris is always guaranteed to elevate any project he is a part of. Plus, as a fan of the actor, it was an unexpected and lovely surprise to see him on screen.
“…nightmares and sleep paralysis begin to plague many people…during his sleep study, one of the patients is murdered.”
The score is very well done for the most part. The use of the cello, a favorite instrument of mine, is haunting and beautifully atmospheric. However, it is not without its flaws. During a high-stress argument, there was quite the conspicuous absence of all noise aside from those speaking. The glaring silence really robbed that scene of the intense emotional gut punch it was doubtlessly trying to build towards.
The writing is, again, mostly well done. It strives to be both mysterious and mind-bending, which for the most, it succeeds at. Though, not always for the reasons the filmmakers intended. The latter half of the film gets increasingly challenging to delineate delusion from the actual events taking place narratively speaking. This, however, hurts the film more than it helps its goal of providing thrills, as the audience will get too distracted by their confusion. It all culminates in a somewhat baffling ending that I am still attempting to piece together.
Ultimately Impossible Monsters is a perfectly adequate film with good production values and quite a few engaging twists and turns. If you are interested in the psychology of dreams and nightmares, or the thrill of a murder mystery, then this film is worth a watch.