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Stopmotion(2024)(Review)

Art is an amazing medium. Through art, we are able to express ourselves in ways that are almost unintelligible otherwise. Simultaneously we are allowed to go on a journey through our own minds and into the great beyond to learn something and bring a piece of it back with us to show the world.

But what happens when that thing that comes back haunts us? What if it takes on a life of its own? What if it begins to warp reality around you?

‘Stopmotion’ is a psychological arthouse film from Robert Morgan, who previously has developed many interesting animated short horror films. It’s his feature debut and it stars Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale, Game of Thrones) as a stop motion animator named Ella whose been living a life in a shell. Her mother was a successful animator who took her under her wing, but her mother is a controlling force who laughs at Ella’s ideas and basically won’t let her do anything on her own. When her mother abruptly enters a coma and passes, Ella finally has a chance to unleash her creativity – which manifests through a story of a clay woman being chased by a man made of Ash. It’s a story of obsession, of desire, of creative pursuit, and of sacrifice.

The film infuses stopmotion animation with live-action horror which turns into a nauseating, disorienting experience when things begin to blend together. Will she get to finish her film, or will the pain and guilt overwhelm her? Does the Ash Man end up catching the clay woman, or does she escape? The answers are just as difficult as the questions we explore.

It’s beautiful, has more body horror than I was expecting, and is genuinely creepy. It’s an arthouse film equally as much as it is a horror, but it’s easily the best new film of 2024 I’ve seen so far.

4/5
“Stopmotion” is now playing in select theaters.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleoptra

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