Blu-ray Review: Horror Gets Animated In STOPMOTION

3 out of 5 stars

Stopmotion, the feature debut from animation director Robert Morgan, is a haunting and visceral exploration of artistic obsession and psychological horror. This is one of those fugue state nightmare pieces where the mood seeps under your skin and it stays with you long after the credits have rolled. It reminded me quite a bit of Prano Bailey-Bond’s 2021 film Censor – and it fact, the two film-centric efforts would make for an exceptional double-bill. 

Set in the meticulous world of stop-motion animation, the film follows Ella Blake (Aisling Franciosi), a talented young animator grappling with personal demons and the weight of her mother’s unfinished legacy.

Franciosi, known for her enigmatic performances in The Nightingale and The Fall, delivers a captivating and nuanced portrayal of Ella. As the protagonist descends into a nightmarish realm where reality and imagination blur, Franciosi’s performance anchors the film’s unsettling atmosphere.

Morgan, drawing from his background in stop-motion shorts, infuses the film with a unique visual style that blends live-action with intricate stop-motion sequences. The director’s expertise in the craft is evident in the film’s eerie and meticulously crafted puppets, which serve as both Ella’s creations and manifestations of her inner turmoil.

The film’s sound design deserves special mention, enhancing the immersive and often disturbing nature of Ella’s journey. Morgan’s decision to focus on the painstaking process of stop-motion animation adds an extra layer of tension, mirroring the protagonist’s deteriorating mental state.

Stopmotion stands out in the recent wave of indie stop-motion horror projects, pushing the boundaries of the medium to create a truly unsettling experience. The film’s exploration of artistic struggle and the dark corners of the human psyche will likely resonate with viewers.

While the pacing may falter on occasion, the overall impact of Stopmotion is strong. Morgan has crafted a bold and memorable debut that showcases his unique vision and promises an intriguing career ahead.

Stopmotion is a must-see for fans of psychological horror and animation alike, offering a fresh and disturbing take on the creative process and the monsters that lurk within our own minds.

Special Features

Stopmotion comes with a relaxed interview with star Aisling Franciosi and an honest chat with director Robert Morgan. There’s also some interesting behind the scenes footage of the film’s production. It’s all short, but very interesting.