Review: 'Stopmotion'


By: Heather Seebach

Anyone who grew up on TOOL music videos probably already has a pre-existing uneasiness with stopmotion animation. When that is combined with a hallucinatory imagery, creepy kids, and an artist spiraling into madness, the result is Stopmotion, an eerie surreal horror that is sure to be counted amongst 2024's best. 

Ella (Aisling Franciosi) is an aspiring stopmotion animator looking to create her first film. Living in the shadow of her famous mother, she finds it difficult to create her own ideas; that is, until she meets a young girl (Caoilinn Springall) in her apartment building who provides just the kind of honest feedback Ella seeks. Together, they develop a story about a girl lost in the woods, hiding from a mysterious foe called the Ash Man. As the story progresses, the lines between  fantasy and reality become blurred for the disturbed artist. 

This feature-length debut by British animator Robert Morgan is perhaps a semi-autobiographical look at how an artist can be consumed by their own work. It also explores the concept of creating life from death, and the madness that ensues through that effort.

In the lead role, Franciosi gives a great performance as the young filmmaker struggling to escape her owns demons, namely the visage of a controlling mother that haunts her. In trying to find her own voice, she loses pieces of herself (figuratively and literally). 

One of the best elements of the film is its use of sound, especially the subtle creaks of metal armatures, as if reality itself is being molded in Ella's hands.

Stopmotion is one of the creepiest movies in recent memory. The imagery is genuinely unnerving, especially the ventriloquist dummy that will forever haunt my dreams. The fleshy little figurines that star in Ella's film evoke sadness and dread. The Ash Man itself takes on multiple forms, each more terrifying than the last. This is a bleak, haunting indie horror not to be missed. 

Like the post? Share with your friends!

Also find us here: