Monsters don’t always hide under our beds — sometimes they hide in lab coats and cryo-tubes. The forthcoming sci-fi film Realive reimagines what we think we know about monsters by bringing us face-to-face with a man who is, by his own description, an immortal “Frankenstein’s monster.”

Following Marc Jarvis — a man who is diagnosed with a terminal illness —Realive shows what happens decades after he’s had himself cryogenically frozen. In a classic sci-fi move, Jarvis preserved his ailing body until science and technology were developed enough to cure him. But, the reanimation doesn’t come without consequence.

Realive explores life, death, and love through the lens of advancement and progress, reflecting on the point at which science and technology stop saving us and start robbing us of our essential humanness. After coming back to life, Marc struggles with what he’s left behind. Though he’s alive after being given a death sentence over half a century before, he has almost nothing of the life he was trying to save.

realive trailer

For decades, futurists and science fiction authors, including Arthur C. Clarke, have imagined the possibility of cryogenically freezing humans to preserve them until future advancements in medicine can cure what ails them.

But Realive seems to posit that reanimation might fundamentally change us that we become unrecognizable — monstrous, even. There are plenty of Frankenstein parallels in this brief glimpse of Realive, with its meditation on what it means to be a person, the right to happiness and love, and the powerful effect of grief. But perhaps the most compelling way in which Realive might relate to Mary Shelley’s classic novel is its essential re-framing of the way we think about monsters.

Realive trailer

Monsters aren’t always murderous and they don’t always destroy city blocks. Sometimes, a monster is someone who destroys lives and love and happiness in a much more subtle way. Even worse, sometimes monsters destroy these things with good intentions, meaning that almost anyone with ambition is capable of being monstrous.

Realive arrives in theaters January 13, 2017.

Photos via giphy, Arcadia Motion Pictures