My Monster

Some gangrenous relationships require extra incentive to motivate amputation. We’ve all been there. Lust confused for romance. You put in the work. Ignore a few problem areas, and attempt to fix the more egregious personality faults. What educational yelling won’t cure, a healthy dose of wine will. One day you wake up, and you’ve wasted a decade manipulating your livelihood to adapt to their unshakable shortcomings. You should have retreated years ago, and now, your only hope at happiness comes in the form of a monstrous tantrum. Scream until all ties are severed.

Christmas is the season for implosion. In My Monster, Brea Grant’s dutiful Lily is forced to re-evaluate the significant other she has chosen to populate her holiday. Having slaved an afternoon away navigating an impossible recipe from Martha Stewart’s playbook, her beau bounces through the door like an oblivious bull in a China shop.

The Jock is an appealing acquisition. Adam Egypt Mortimer tosses his pair of boxing gloves on the dinner table with the confidence of years of sexual reinforcement. He’s won life, brah. This physical specimen lives under the assumption that all women are ready to grovel at his beck and call. He’s a gift.  So, of course, his only acknowledgment of the feast Lily has simmering is “Awesome, I’m starving.”

Izzy Lee has tossed her audience a smooth softball over the plate. Within thirty seconds of her latest short film, the director has savagely initiated a conflict we’re eager to erupt. The title is a promise that one monster will be met with another, and the inevitable versus battle certainly satisfies the pent-up torment of anyone who has found themselves trapped in dead-end devotion.  The payoff is a smashing crack, sending the softball rocketing over the outfield.

Lily’s troubles don’t end with The Jock. From beneath her bedroom window, a cloaked figure routinely disrupts her sleep by summoning her with grumbles. Mr. Boyfriend doesn’t want to hear about it. Pop an Ambien and chillax. Let science be the answer to the question he can’t bother to investigate. Lily’s worries are a nuisance stemming from an active imagination. The Jock won’t appreciate the horror until it’s spewing in his face, but those choice boxing moves mean nothing against ectoplasmic vomit.

My Monster doesn’t condescend with two creatures fighting for the hand of Lily. This is Brea Grant’s show. One brute is just an excuse to handle the other one. Assholes need to be put in check. At least the guy who is thirsting for her blood wants something from her. She’ll take his hunger and make it work.

At seven minutes and nine seconds, My Monster magically manages to double down on the socially minded horror experience. On one level, the film acts as a battle cry against all those soul-sucking lovers we trap ourselves upon during our quest for Mr/Mrs. Right. On yet another level, Izzy Lee is using every millisecond of her runtime as a call-to-arms for blood donation. Yes, you read that right. My Monster was originally conceived to be apart of the Women In Horror Month’s annual blood drive. We all have the power to help coursing through our veins, and every delicious drop that can be fed to a dehydrated demon can also be donated at your local Red Cross. Snub The Jock, listen to the beast. “It’s in you.”

My Monster is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit. I first caught it at the Chattanooga Film Festival back in April, and it just screened at the Slaughter Movie House in Kansas City. You can catch it (alongside Lee’s other short film Rites of Vengeance) next at the Snake Alley Festival of Film on 6/22. Or if you’re closer to Chicago, on that same day, swing on by the always-reliable Cinepocalypse for a showing.