27 user 53 critic

Closet Monster (2015)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery | 27 May 2016 (Taiwan)
1:53 | Trailer
A creative and driven teenager is desperate to escape his hometown and the haunting memories of his turbulent childhood.


Stephen Dunn


Stephen Dunn, Don McKellar (story editor)
10 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Aaron Abrams ... Peter Madly
Jack Fulton ... Oscar Madly (9)
Joanne Kelly ... Brin Madly
Isabella Rossellini ... Buffy (voice)
Jinji Dawson Jinji Dawson ... Anna
Meghan Cullen Meghan Cullen ... Kathryn
Bradley Nippard Bradley Nippard ... Teenage Boy (as Brad Nippard)
Megan Kennedy Megan Kennedy ... News Reporter
Connor Jessup ... Oscar Madly (18)
Sofia Banzhaf ... Gemma
Sean Panting Sean Panting ... Constable Bennett
Megan Rose Jones Megan Rose Jones ... Ms. Mercer
Tim Myles ... Student (as Timothy Myles)
Mary Walsh ... Allison
Igor Pugdog Igor Pugdog ... Allison's Dog


8-years-old Oscar Madly became traumatized. Around the same time that his mother left their family (with Oscar firmly taking his dad's side), Oscar witnessed a gay hate crime at school that left the victim bloodied and permanently paralyzed. Ten years pass. Oscar, befriended by his talking hamster Buffy, wants to get into a special effects make-up school (using his friend Gemma as a model), and has come to realize his spiteful father's anti-social, immature short-comings. When Oscar meets co-worker Wilder at the hardware store, sexual feelings begin to stir but accompanied by severe stomach pains (the memory of the hate crime). A farewell costume party for Wilder brings Oscar's issues to a head, expressed sometimes in surreal terms. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Stephen Dunn's debut feature film. See more »


Brin Madly: If you are forced to walk through shit, then you might as well grow a thick skin.
See more »


References The Brady Bunch (1969) See more »


94 (Eme DJ & Couenmain Remix)
Performed by Soldout
Written by Charlotte Maison (SABAM), David Baboulis (SABAM)
Published by Third Side Music Inc.
Courtesy of Soldout 2013
See more »

User Reviews

Evocative and Melancholic Drama
23 October 2016 | by bkrauser-81-311064See all my reviews

Closet Monster is that rare first feature coming from an auteur with vision, clarity of thought and a voice unique enough to rise above the noise. Chances are few will see it; its limited appeal, not to mention limited release isn't likely to turn many heads. Yet for those who seek it, and more importantly, those who stumble on it years in the future, this movie is just enough to maybe fall in love with.

Even at a young age, Oscar (Jessup) didn't exactly have it easy. His parents divorced early on in a scene depicted as both turbulent and petulant. He boards largely with his father (Abrams), in a living situation that highly suggests some serious transgressions on the mother's (Kelly) part. What's worse is somewhere amid the memories of tree house building and playing vampire hunter, Oscar vividly remembers the beating and paralysis of a gay teenager from his school. Years later Oscar's worst kept secret is hidden from his father by his presumed interest in his photography model Gemma (Banzhaf) and a macabre fascination with monster makeup. That of course all changes and threatens to unravel with the arrival of Wilder (Schneider), whose wavy blonde hair and exotic accent appeals to the tortured Oscar.

Oscar's story might as well be an analog to every closeted teen, suffocating under the provincialism of their hometown, longing for an escape to the assumed gay utopias of New York, San Francisco or Miami Beach. The universality of his story is further hammered home by a host of tried and true storytelling techniques literalizing his journey. Oscar infers his conscience via his pet guinea pig Buffy (Rossellini) in order to process his complex emotions. Key images and plot points are amplified by hyperbole and forays into body horror and intellectual montage. In many ways Closet Monster invites comparisons to other fanta-fablest films like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) and Swiss Army Man (2016) especially when it comes to exploring emotionally salient themes.

Yet just like those films, Closet Monster occasionally undermines its themes in the service of artistic flourish. Director Stephen Dunn indulges in one too many moments of ponderous slow-motion and euphoric whimsy with the same film-school pretension that sunk similar films like Before I Disappear (2014). Yet when the movie pivots into its groove, it really does have a lot to say through Oscar's unique, granular life. Connor Jessup does an incredible job balancing a role that requires layers of alienation, tension and longing while also conveying outward vulnerability and priggishness. While I personally wish his relationship with his father had more complexity and objectivity than the average emotional abuse cliché, the film does leave things open for reconciliation.

Closet Monster is certainly not the definitive coming-out movie; I'm pretty sure The Way He Looks (2014) took that spot away from My Own Private Idaho (1991) quite some time ago. Yet as a evocative drama and melancholic piece of entertainment, it has the seriousness and caprice to stand on its own merits. And if it gives young kids like Oscar the courage to be themselves then I say it's all worth it.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Twitter | See more »





Release Date:

27 May 2016 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

Closet Monster See more »

Filming Locations:

St John's, Newfoundland, Canada See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,118, 25 September 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed