Female Filmmaker Friday: My Monster (2018)

As she lives with a less-than-ideal partner, Lily is first stalked then receives a visit from a monster from another dimension. What does he want and is he dangerous?

Written and directed by Izzy Lee, My Monster starts off with a frustrating to watch relationship and takes a fun turn a but later on that makes it an entertaining Christmas short film. As it was originally released as part of the Soska sisters’ blood-drive PSA, the film does have a blood donation part but here it feels like the story is more about the relationship and the characters themselves with the blood giving psa feeling like kind of just an afterthought. The film starts off with Lily having prepared a nice dinner for her partner who’s less than receptive and comes off fairly disagreeable. That start sets a tone that’s a bit on the annoyed side and it does great work of communicating that feeling with the viewer. From there, Lee builds towards the story’s end which makes a lot of sense in context.

Playing the only three parts here are Brea Grant as Lily, Adam Egypt Mortimer as her partner, and Steve Johanson as the monster. While Adam Egypt Mortimer succeeds at being fairly insufferable, Brea Grant is the center of everything here and does great work with the little time given by the film’s runtime. Her annoyance at first and how she evolves look natural and are relatable. Steve Johanson, as the monster, gives a good physical performance as his face is covered by a great monster mask, which show how important good practical effects can be. His presence and performance are mostly attitude and a lot of subtle, and some not so subtle, movements. His work sets the tone for the ending and how the film comes off when all is said and done.

My Monster’s cinematography by Shaheen Seth gives the film an expensive look and works well with the Holiday setting with its lights and colors. The way it’s all shot gives the film, at least its second half, a sort of dream-like feel, kind of a dark fairytale. Seth’s work establishes the style and feel of the film quickly through clearly planned, selected, and shot images, these images’ editing by Bryan McKay who weaves them together in a bit of Christmas magic for the horror kid in all of us.

My Monster is a true Izzy Lee Holiday film, or at least what her regular viewers might expect from her. While the film may not be her strongest to date, it’s a fun short with a cute twist on a monster wanting someone for a reason or two that are all his. As has become usual, Brea Grant is great here and goes fully into the story and even its twist. My Monster is a fun blood-drive PSA and Holiday short that entertains and brings a few funny moments that add to the simple story of a monster and a woman each wanting just a little bit more out of life.

Other short films by Izzy Lee
An interview with Izzy Lee