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Release Date: 02/23/24 [Cinemas]
Genre: Animation. Horror.

Studio: IFC Films. 

"A stop-motion animator struggles to control her demons after the loss of her overbearing mother." 


If you’re familiar with the horror anthology The ABCs of Death, then you’ll be aware of the horrific creativity of director Robert Morgan, the BAFTA-nominated animator who contributed “D Is for Deloused” to the aforementioned project.  For his debut feature Stopmotion, he blends the art of stop-motion and live-action together, creating a truly unique, tragic, and unnerving tale in the process.

At the centre of the film is Ella (Aisling Franciosi, no stranger to the genre, with The Nightingale and The Last Voyage of the Demeter to her name), a stop-motion artist whose own talents aren’t being as recognized as they should, as she acts as a mere tool for her commanding mother (Stella Gonet), a legend within the stop-motion field. Her hands have failed her, but her visions stay as strong as ever, and her daughter’s nimble fingers prove the perfect solution.

Ella has bigger aspirations than being an extension of her mother’s work, but it isn’t until a series of coincidental circumstances take place that she’s able to commit to her own vision. We shouldn’t be surprised that with a film of this ilk there’s tragedy afoot, and Ella’s own idea is one seeped in its own twisted darkness, which gives license for the film to indulge in a series of nightmarish, squeamish visuals that may test the patience of some viewers; all I’ll say is that an open leg wound has never felt more painful.

Whilst Stopmotion adheres to a certain subgenre of horror by following the rules of “the artist consumed by their own art” subsect, Morgan never feels as if he’s falling on tropes. And as much as Ella’s mental state is questioned as the lines between reality and fantasy start to violently blur – something that also feels like an expected narrative turn – it's the psychological weight and how much poignancy he laces her collapse with that keeps the film from ever turning a predictable corner.

As chilling as it is devastating, Stopmotion transcends its familiarity with a wholly committed turn from the game Franciosi and disturbingly creative animation, resulting in a picture that somehow finds a sense of beauty amongst its confronting brutality.

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