A Brilliant Monster (2018)

In my non-movie watching life, I write advertising copy for a living. A lot of that involves the constant search for inspiration as I battle against deadlines. So the central conceit of this movie, which concerns how Mitch Stockridge, a self-help author, gets his story ideas spoke to me. But how’s the final product?

Mitch (Dennis Friebe) has taken his life from being bullied in his teens to a successful career as a self-help author. But it’s not enough. He’ll never please his father. And he’ll never quiet the fans, journalists and even close friends who keep asking him where he gets his ideas. That’s because the truth is stranger than fiction: his ideas come from a monster that lives in his bathroom that he feeds people to. In exchange, he gets a crumpled piece of paper with scrawled ideas that he takes for his own.

After trying to write an actual novel instead of just another self-help guide, Mitch deas with the depression that comes with shooting for the stars and falling short. That’s when he decides to start feeding everyone and everything he can to the creative beast. And all of the people disappearing around him leads to the police investigating him, with Abby the lead detective going for interested to a vendetta to pure hatred. That’s because of more than just this case — one of Mitch’s self-help books inspired her husband so much that he left her and their family behind to chase his dreams.

So is this a real monster? Or is Mitch just crazy? And is Abby just as crazy for starting to believe in it, too?

Now, Mitch wants to prove the critics and his father wrong once and for all. And that means drastic measures and deaths that are way more important than just some girls he’s met in bars and on CraigsList. No, it’s time for his best friend John to meet the teeth of the bathroom monster if he really wants to be a celebrated writer.

There’s definitely a bit of Little Shop of Horrors and Basket Case at work here. I really liked how you never really see the monster, just its teeth and the sounds it makes as it tears apart its meals. There are a lot of questions raised by this film, such as Mitch’s journey from abused child to the caretaker for his father, the pains and sacrifices that it takes to create and the relationships that it costs along the way. I really felt that last part a lot.

This is definitely a low budget film, so go into it knowing that. It looks decent, though, with some solid editing and the leads are way better actors than you’d expect. There aren’t a lot of characters to like, however, as almost everyone is uniformly a bad person. There isn’t anyone to root for or learn from in this. But it is an intriguing meditation on the creative process, even if it feels like there could be more to the overall story.

The film’s IMDB site says that this film will be released on December 1. To learn more, visit the official site.

Disclaimer: I was sent this movie by its PR team, but as you know, that has no bearing on my review.

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