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Tara Lee Talks New VR Horror Movie ‘The Faceless Lady’ [Interview]

MONOLITH, the new sci-fi thriller with Lily Sullivan (Evil Dead Rise) is set to hit theaters and VOD on February 16th! Written by Lucy Campbell and directed by Matt Vesely, the film was shot on location in one location and stars only one person. Lily Sullivan. This sets him back the whole movie, but after Evil Dead Rise, I think he’s up to it!

I recently had the chance to chat with Matt Vesely about directing the film and the challenges behind making it! Read our interview after the trailer below:

Monolith Official trailer

iHorror: Matt, thanks for your time! We wanted to talk about your new movie, MONOLITH. What can you tell us without spoiling too much?

Matt Vesely: MONOLITH is a sci-fi thriller about a podcaster, a disgraced journalist who worked for a major news outlet and was recently fired when he acted unethically. So she retreated to her parents’ house and started this sort of mystery podcast to try to find her way back to some credibility. She gets a strange email, an anonymous email, that just gives her a phone number and a woman’s name and says: black brick.

She ends up down this weird rabbit hole, finding out about these strange, alien artifacts that are popping up all over the world, and she starts to get lost in this possibly true alien invasion story. I think the hook of the movie is that there is only one actor on screen. Lily Sullivan. Everything is told from her perspective, through her talking to people on the phone, lots of interviews hidden in this stylish and modern house in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. It’s kind of creepy, an X-Files episode.

Director Matt Vesely

How was working with Lily Sullivan?

She’s brilliant! He just came out of Evil Dead. He wasn’t out yet, but they shot him. She brought a lot of that physical energy from Evil Dead to our film, even if it’s very limited. She likes to work from inside her body and generate real adrenaline. Right before doing a scene, he’ll do pre-shot push-ups to try to get the adrenaline pumping. It’s really fun and interesting to watch. He’s just super down to earth. I didn’t audition him because I knew his work. She is extremely talented and has an amazing voice, which is great for a podcaster. I just spoke with her on Zoom to see if she would be open to making a smaller film. She’s like one of our friends now.

Lily Sullivan in Evil Dead Rise

What was it like making such a content film?

In some ways, it’s quite liberating. Obviously, it’s a challenge to find ways to make him exciting and make him change and grow throughout the film. Cinematographer Mike Tessari and I broke the film down into clear chapters and had very clear visual rules. As in the opening of the film, it has no shot for three or four minutes. It’s just black, then we see Lily. There are clear rules so that you feel the space and visual language of the film grow and change to make you feel like you are going on this cinematic journey as well as an audio intellectual ride.

So there are a lot of challenges like that. In other ways, it’s my first feature film, one actor, one location, you’re very focused. You don’t have to spread yourself too thin. It’s a really limited way of working. Each choice relates to how that person will appear on screen. In some ways, it’s a dream. You are just creative, you never struggle just to make the film, it is purely creative.

So in some ways it was almost a benefit rather than a disadvantage?

Exactly, and that’s always been the movie’s theory. The film was developed through a Film Lab process here in South Australia called The Film Lab New Voices Program. The idea was that we went in as a team, we went in with the writer Lucy Campbell and the producer Bettina Hamilton and we went into this lab for a year and you developed a script from scratch for a fixed budget. If you’re successful, you get paid to make that movie. So the idea was always to come up with something that would feed that budget and be almost better for it.

If you could say one thing about the film, something you wanted people to know, what would it be?

It’s a really interesting way to watch a sci-fi mystery and the fact that it’s Lily Sullivan and she’s just a brilliant and charismatic force on screen. You’ll love spending 90 minutes losing your mind with her, I think. The other thing is that really escalate. It feels very contained and kind of a slow burn, but it’s going somewhere. Stay with her.

This being your first feature, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, what are your plans?

I’m from Adelaide, South Australia. It’s probably the size of Phoenix, the size of a city. We are about an hour’s flight west of Melbourne. I’ve been working here for a while. I have worked mostly in script development for television for the past 19 years. I’ve always loved sci-fi and horror. Foreigner it’s my favorite movie of all time.

I’ve done a number of short films and they’re sci-fi short films, but they’re more comedy. This was an opportunity to get into scarier stuff. I realized in doing it that it’s all I really care about. It was like coming home. Paradoxically, it was a lot more fun trying to be scary than trying to be funny, which is painful and miserable. You can be bolder and stranger and go wild. I absolutely loved it.

So we’re just developing more stuff. Right now, the team is developing another kind of cosmic horror, which is in its infancy. I just finished a script for a dark Lovecraftian horror film. Right now it’s writing time and hopefully getting to the next movie. I’m still working on TV. I wrote pilots and stuff. It’s the industry’s ongoing problem, but hopefully we’ll be back very soon with another film from the Monolith team. We’re going to bring Lily back, the whole crew.

Wonderful. We really appreciate your time, Matt. We will definitely be keeping an eye on you and your future endeavors!

You can see Monolith in theaters and beyond Prime Video 16th February! Courtesy of Well Go USA!

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