The Monster Inside my Head (2023) [Fantasia Film Festival 2023] 

After coming home, a woman attempts to do everyday things and tasks while a creature creeps up on her, trying to take control of her. 

Written and directed by Maude Michaud, this film creates a creepy atmosphere for the central character to do her regular, everyday task, while something is trying to take over. Is this in her head? Is this a representation of what is in her come to to life? What is touching her, poking her, scaring her, and disturbing her? Will it stop? Michaud takes this metaphor for mental health and turns it into a powerful short film where each viewer can see the creature as their own set of issues, their own take on what lurks in one’s mind. Is it depression, anxiety, loneliness, paranoia? It’s never made official in the film, allowing the viewer to make up their own mind, apply their own life experiences to what they are watching, and get from the film what they need to get from it.  

The cast here is two people total, the lead who is played by Karine Kerr and the creature played by Shelagh Rowan-Legg. The part of the creature is fairly simple but does require an understanding of movement and how to create an atmosphere of dread while not being fully in frame, something Rowan-Legg does very well here. In the part of The Woman, Kerr does great work showing reluctance, worry, fear, and ultimately a full range of emotions. She does quite a lot with very little dialog and little time. She makes the most of her time on the screen, giving a performance that connects with the viewer. She’s great in the part and will make some want the film to be just a little longer so they can get more of her performance here. 

Something that must be discussed here for a minute: The score. Here the score is by David Ogilvie and Anthony Valcic, two Canadian musicians and music producers who have done plenty film work and even produced other artists, with Ogilvie being a member of Skinny Puppy at one point. These two know atmospheric, horror-tinged, industrial music. Their work here is moody and sometimes creepy, just the right style for this film. To go with the audio, the images of this short film were captured by Miguel Asselin and Julien Desrosiers, shooting images that have just the right angles to show just enough, not too much and help create the atmosphere. Add to this the special effects by Sebastien Montpetit and the film has a well-round perfectly creepy look and sound to create just the right atmosphere for the film. 

The Monster Inside my Head is a short film that is beautifully creepy, emotionally charged, effective, and just the right length to bring the viewer in, pull them in closer, and give them the creeps while making them think of their own monsters inside their heads. 

This year the Fantasia International Film Festival runs in Montreal from July 20th to August 9th.