A BRILLIANT MONSTER (2018)
There are many variations on the theme of making a deal with the devil. From FAUST to THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER to BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT and ANGEL HEART. Both a narrative device and a warning it’s a timeless plot device. And in A BRILLIANT MONSTER, F.C. Rabbath gives us an interesting twist on it.
Mitch (Dennis Friebe) is a hugely successful author of self-help books. He’s the caretaker for his cantankerous and formerly abusive father and has a beautiful girlfriend, Sophie (Alea Figueroa) along with a string of affairs. He also has a secret, the secret to his success. It’s a monster living in an upstairs room. He feeds it humans and it provides him with the ideas for his books. But the hookers and assorted pickups he’s been offering it aren’t getting the results they used to. The creature, (Mitch refers to it as “Me”) has its eye on somebody closer to Mitch, a sacrifice with more meaning. Is he willing to pay the price for continued fame?
I was somewhat surprised when I was offered A BRILLIANT MONSTER by Mr. Rabbath as my review of his previous feature WATCH OVER US had been particularly harsh. But I’m glad he did, this is a much better film in just about every way. The story is much more cohesive and works on a couple of levels. As both a horror tale of a Faustian pact with evil and as an allegory for how willing we are to destroy others in the quest for fame. It takes the sacrifice of friendships, family, and romantic relationships and expresses them in more literal terms.
We also get to see the creature this time. It’s not seen much but the brief shots are effective enough to convey menace something that was sorely missing in his previous film. Hopefully, he’ll get the budget to more fully feature his monsters if he continues in this genre. And I hope he does, given the core similarities between this and WATCH OVER US he seems to have a fondness for both the genre and this particular theme. With his storytelling skills catching up to his technical abilities he could be a great addition to the indie film scene. I’ll be looking forward to his next feature.
A BRILLIANT MONSTER is playing festivals and looking for distribution. Hopefully, it will be in release soon.