To See or Not to See: Closet Monster

Closet Monster

Stephen Dunn makes a stylish debut with his first feature film, Closet Monster. It’s a fresh take on the coming-of-age stories that have, well, become all too predictable. Daring, evocative, and thought-provoking, Dunn establishes himself as a new cinematic voice that we need to keep an eye on.

Closet Monster tells the story of a queer youth traversing the path to self-acceptance. When we’re first introduced to a young Oscar, he’s overcoming his parents’ decision to separate. He doesn’t handle the news well. And, it brings forth feelings of abandonment. Things quickly escalate from bad to worse as he witnesses a traumatic hate crime involving another student. The incident continues to haunt Oscar throughout his development and hinders him from coming to terms with who he is.

Flash forward to present-day, Oscar is now a senior in High School with aspirations to work in film. He’s hoping his acceptance to a design school in New York City will mean finally escaping his homophobic father. While he’s awaiting the news, he works at the local hardware store. There he develops feelings for a male co-worker. And, more importantly, begins establishing his own identity.

It’s Dunn’s ability to bridge reality with elements of fantasy that make this film anything but predictable. He takes huge risks including voicing Oscar’s inner conscience and turmoil through the personification of an iron pole and talking hamster (voiced by the incredible, Isabella Rossellini). And, let me tell you, it pays off. It’s his fearlessness that makes him a filmmaker we’re excited to see more from.

When Dunn was creating the character, Oscar, he had one actor in mind: Connor Jessup. And, we can’t say we’re surprised. We’re constantly blown away by his performances and it speaks volumes of his talent. He’s not an actor, he’s an artist. And, Dunn and Jessup are a dynamic duo.

Closet Monster will be opening in theaters nationwide. Dates can be found on Strand Releasing.

★ ★ ★ ★ out of 4

Photo Credit: Strand Releasing


Kevin is a writer living in New York City. He is an enthusiast with an extensive movie collection, who enjoys attending numerous conventions throughout the year. His favorite shows include Game of Thrones and The Flash.

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