I wish more trailers hinted instead of explained like this one, but most trailers don’t have as much to offer as Closet Monster. By that, I don’t mean that it has some big narrative twist, but that there’s layers to the story and the way it’s told.
The basics of Closet Monster is still clear: it’s a coming-of-age story about a young gay man told with inventiveness and specificity, the kind that creates an intimate character portrait awash in emotion. Writer/director Stephen Dunn wants you to connect deeply with this character, and he’s willing to use all the tricks to make that happen.
Even a brief look at the film’s credits show just how much the trailer is holding back, like the fact that Isabella Rossellini voices the hamster you get a glimpse of. Yes, voices, because the hamster talks, but apparently that’s not a big enough plot point to put in the trailer.
The citing of David Cronenberg as an influence is supported by the blood that crops up, and the small moment of intense infatuation that comes from watching a crush put a shirt on is Xavier Dolan, as is the playful use of light and prominent music. Oh, and there’s the whole fact that the crush in Closet Monster is played by the younger brother of the Adonis in Dolan’s Heartbeats, but that might just be a coincidence.
How all these influences and bits of weirdness will come together remains to be seen, but the stack of awards and strong reviews it boasts out of its festival run is promising. If Closet Monster can truly deliver on what the trailer promises, then I not only want to see this film, but want to loudly spread the word that you should seek it out.
Closet Monster is directed by Stephen Dunn and stars Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams, and Isabella Rossellini. It will be released in the U.S. on September 23rd, 2016. For international release dates, click here.
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