Review: She Made a Monster

Written and directed by Jay Reel, she’s a genius, she’s also a bit of a mad scientist. Dottie tries out her homemade teleportation device on her family’s TV and accidentally transports a movie monster into the real world. Starring: Faith Kester, Payton Botelho and Andrew Billingsley.

With technology for filmmaking having become so much more accessible, short film rarely has such a homemade feel to it today, but She Made a Monster certainly does. It’s a nice throwback to 90s era style family films, having silly adventures and not taking themselves too seriously. There’s an entirely wholesome atmosphere at work, and it’s always great to have that surrounding intelligent, enthusiastic and curious young girls. It plays with the monster movie element, adding the classic exaggeration and over confidence of its young scientist.

Faith Kester gives Dottie that precocious but likeable touch, playing with fire and not paying huge attention to the consequences, but always ready with a new solution. While Payton Botelho and Andrew Billingsley provide a good sounding board, and grounding to Dottie’s eccentricity, trying to rein her in. However there are a few issues along the way, firstly that the story feels too spread out. Taking up over twenty minutes, when the same could reasonably have been achieved in less, to keep a more consistent energy and a stronger pacing. There’s also a lot of extra characters thrown in which don’t have a great deal to add, and slow down the story.

Visually, again it really embraces the classic independent, home-made feel but there are some technical issues which hold it back. There isn’t an effective use of space, it spends a great deal of its time with fairly restricted and close-up shots which don’t provide much variety. It struggles with consistency in its lighting, falling overly bright at times or creating issues with the timeline, moving from day to evening in the edit. The score can also feel slightly too artificial or commercial, not quite embracing the adventurous or playful tone.

She Made a Monster is a wholesome and light-hearted adventure, led by an adorable and dangerously confident performance from Faith Kester as Dottie. It brings monster movies to the PG arena but has trouble keeping a faster pace and consistent energy. There isn’t a great use of space, and it has a few different elements which needed to be tidied up but it has sweet intentions, doesn’t take itself too seriously and purely tries to create something simple and fun.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

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