A Divalicious Movie Review: Stopmotion Reveals The Horrors of Stop-Motion Animation

By   |   February 28, 2024   |   Entertainment
stopmotion poster

Horror and stop-motion is a common macabre marriage you’ll see these days. Just gaze into Hellish circles of Henry Selick’s PG family films or Phil Tippett’s Mad Dog. Now Stopmotion arrives and its tale feels familiar yet original.  

I can imagine that director-animator Robert Morgan (who co-wrote the film with Robin King) experienced the horrors of deadlines, creative blocks and the pressures of proving your genius. You feel it in his film Stopmotion, which stars an exhausted stop-motion artist like him (creature effects by Dan Martin).

Credit to Morgan for focusing on a creative oft-overlooked by the industry: a woman stop-motion artist. Ella Blake (a stellar Aisling Franciosi from The Nightingale) animates her puppets under the thumb of her austere mother (Stella Gonet). Upon her mother’s stroke, Ella resolves to realize her own vision rather than be beholden to her mother’s legacy.

As her project takes its dark shapes, her labors begin to tax her sanity and her soul. Her weary disposition slumps into a fatigue. However, she feels that the mental spiral is the only destination to be true to her vision. One of her few allies is an impish neighbor, a Little Girl (Caoilinn Springall, an excellent little demon child herself), who encourages her to claw deeper into the bloody entrails of her mind. Soon, animal carcasses become the assets to Ella’s puppets. 

 

It feels funny to call Stopmotion a stop-motion/live-action hybrid, considering that stop-motion IS live-action. But anyway, it’s a clever melding of two forms. Sure, sometimes the script is expositionist. Sure, some moving parts feel rushed. But those roadblocks make way for an experience as Stopmotion spirals into the insane. I can’t wait to see what Robert Morgan might conjure next. No pressure.

photo credit: IFC Films

 

The movie opens theatrically on February 23rd before a Shudder streaming release on May 31.

Filed Under: Entertainment
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