A mysterious man opens the film with a narrative, telling viewers how he wants to share a secretive story, revealing that there was something different about his family when he was a young child. In this story, he shares critical details of a stalker who claims to be from the future. Soon, we learn that the strange man is conversing over the phone with a journalist and interviewer (played by Lily Sullivan). Sadly, the conversation ends when it’s revealed that the man’s story has no evidence to support it.
The Interviewer (Lily Sullivan) also has a story to share with the audience. Working as a podcaster, she desires to provide high-quality, independent journalism. However, she publicly apologises for some of her recent work as a journalist, her mistakes in not gathering enough evidence, and her failure to conduct proper background checks. Keen to start afresh, she launches her new podcast, “Beyond Believable,” which focuses on investigating and unmasking all things strange and unexplainable. When she receives an e-mail from an anonymous user with a phone number, she decides to call the number. This leads her to a strange artifact related to an alien conspiracy, unlike anything she’s ever encountered. This is The Interviewer’s moment to shine. But terror slowly creeps over her life as she pursues a new lead.
Monolith is best described as a sci-fi thriller. I was surprised to find the lead actress, Lily Sullivan, is the only actress to appear on-screen throughout the entire duration. As a thriller, the film ticks all the right boxes, beginning with a simple mystery that is somewhat vague. As the film progresses, viewers will learn that something more significant and larger is waiting to be discovered. It’s easy to invest, especially when details don’t make sense, and the film’s finale is unpredictable.
Performance-wise, I felt Lily Sullivan did a terrific job on-screen, and her character- an experienced interviewer and journalist- was convincing. Another pleasing aspect was seeing the character change and transform throughout the film. Sound effects are a strength here, and the sound mixing, such as when The Interviewer makes phone calls or hears strange noises, is impacting. Visually, I found myself pleased. Some sci-fi aspects of the plot did have me slightly stumped and scratching my head (including moments during the third act and the finale).
Overall, Monolith is an innovative and clever film for lovers of mystery and all things sci-fi. The film successfully begins with something vague, strange, and bizarre, and as time moves forward, viewers will be invested to see the unpredictable outcomes. The leading performance from Lily Sullivan is excellent, and the actress delivers a character that is highly convincing and believable; plus, she carries this film wonderfully. The sound design here is clever and pleasing. Areas of sci-fi did have me scratching my head at various times, including the finale; however, in the end, it’s a solid directorial debut film from Matt Vesely that kept me guessing. Like any good journalist, I felt eager to know all the answers and the truth right from the opening scene.