Review: IMPOSSIBLE MONSTERS, Dreams Bleed Into Reality

Santino Fontana, Natalie Knepp, Devika Bhise, and Donall O Healai star in a psychological thriller, written and directed by Nathan Catucci.

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Review: IMPOSSIBLE MONSTERS, Dreams Bleed Into Reality

Academia inspires nightmares.

Impossible Monsters
The film opens in New York and Los Angeles theaters on Friday, Friday 14.

Discomfiting dreams bleed into the waking lives of two people in New York City. As it happens, Dr. Rich Freeman (Santino Fontana) has decided to begin a study to look into the intersection of dreams, reality and sleep paralysis.

Rich wants to win a corporate-sponsored grant that will benefit his own career as a professor, as well as the university where he is employed. His study group includes social worker Leigh (Natalie Knepp), with whom he has just started a relationship; artist Otis (Dónall Ó Héalai), a tortured type who is convinced of his own greatness; and student Jo (Devika Bhise), who works nights in a private club for adults.

Written and directed by Nathan Catucci, Impossible Monsters unfolds at a leisurely pace, perked up by an unsettling musical score, composed by Michael MacAllister, and a swirling camera-eye perspective, captured by director of photography Behnood Dadfar. The title, quoted from artist Francisco Goya, suggests that creatures of the night will spring forth, which contributes to the expectant mood that is quickly established.

The mysterious, suggestive atmosphere primes viewers for an unexpected fantastical element, or an unexpected element of some sort. Instead, a police procedural breaks out after a serious crime. From that point onward, the film never quite regains its slowly-building momentum, leading to a conventional resolution.

Admittedly, my expectations were raised by the combination of dreams, nightmares, and the disturbing art that Otis paints. Also, the club where Jo works is, well, full of possibilities that are never explored. This may have been a case where the film's ambitions exceeded its budget, which may explain why I felt let down.

Still, the visuals and storytelling style remain sufficiently compelling, and the performances are fine, including Chris Henry Coffey as a fellow psychology professor, Laila Robbins as the current university dean, Rajeev Varma as a gallery owner, Dennis Boutsikaris as the former university dean, and Geoffrey Owens as one of the detectives trying to solve the case.

Summing up: Impossible Monsters is filled with potential, and it will be quite fascinating to see what writer/director Nathan Catucci cooks up next.

For more information about the film, visit the official site.

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Devika BhiseDonall O HealaiNatalie KneppNathan CatucciSantino FontanaUS

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