MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Motivational Growth’


Film: Motivational Growth
Director: Don Thacker
Starring: Jeffery Combs, Adrian DiGiovanni, Danielle Doetsch

I am really at a loss here. I have been tasked with reviewing the film Motivational Growth and to be entirely honest I am quite unsure how to put what I just watched into coherent words. Think of the last time you had a vivid dream. At the time it was all clear and coherent but when you try to remember it (or, god forbid, tell someone else about it) it will seem like a jumbled mess of random thoughts with a very basic overall story. The entire dream may have been about you going to the store for milk but somehow there was a part where you stepped onto a pizza box at the beach with your brother’s girlfriend skipping oysters across the fog. That is what the surreal horror comedy Motivational Growth is like and it is easily one of my favorite films of the year.

Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni) is a (possibly insane) recluse. He has not left his apartment in over a year, living his “life” by the light of his vintage television set. When his TV finally calls it quits he loses all reason to live and attempts to take his own life in his bathroom. It is in here that he meets The Mold (Jeffery Combs), a gigantic talking bit of mold growing next to his sink. At first it seems The Mold is out to help Ian get his life together and finally talk to a girl he keeps seeing outside his apartment (Danielle Doetsch) but The Mold may, in fact, have much more sinister plans for him instead.

To call this film unconventional would be like saying the sun is kind of bright. Motivational Growth is as insane as its protagonist, switching between traditional film structure to of the wall animations, 4th wall shattering narrations, and completely outlandish hallucinations. All of this is mixed in with a perfect amount of comedy and enough horror to satisfy most fans of the genre. You never quite know where the story is going but the confusion adds to the journey making this film one of the most interesting and entertaining pieces of cinema released in some time.

Adrian DiGiovanni manages to capture the spirit of reclusiveness and isolation in a way that would have you believe he actually locked himself alone in an apartment for years to prepare for the role. His apathy mixed with frenzy as his mind unravels is the kind of stuff that lesser actors would stumble over in a heartbeat. That being said, Jeffery Combs as the voice of the mold nearly steals the show. The former Re-Animator star takes a hideous growth and makes him a smooth talking sage of questionable intent. The rapport between Ian and The Mold is clever and witty. It always feels natural and organic, which is hard to do when one of the characters is a puppet.

The entirety of the film is supported by a retro theme featuring an 8-bit soundtrack and video game like animations. This callback to a time most of us remember from our childhoods adds another layer to an already great film. If your interest in Motivational Growth is from a horror fan standpoint you need not worry as there is enough suspense and terror (and some corpses) as the movie starts to take a turn from light hearted to dark the more it unfolds. One thing is for sure, Motivational Growth is going to go down as a new cult classic and live on in the horror/comedy pantheon with films like Army Of Darkness and Dead Alive. Do not miss a chance to see it.

Score: A

Review written by: Justin Proper

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.