Medusa (Blu-ray)

In order to resist temptation, Mariana and her girlfriends try their best to control everything and everyone around them. However, the day will come when the urge to scream will be stronger than it ever has been.

May 24, 2023 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

There’s something about masked figures that gets under my skin. I’m not just speaking of horror films where the killer wears a mask, but more whether it be for an art form or one reason or another. While they can frighten me, I still mean that in a good way as I enjoy being scared sometimes. Medusa is not an outright horror film as it mixes a few genres, but there are certainly frightening elements to it. Seeing the female cast roam the streets at night in white, expressionless masks, attacking sinners is more than a little disturbing. Largely because things that happen in the film could very well happen in real life. That is at least to some extent. There are certainly far-fetched elements to the film, but there is a realism behind much of what we’re seeing that makes it more effective. I’m glad I sat down to give it a shot, and glad that it was offered for review purposes.

It should be known that the film features Portuguese with English subtitles, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment. People tend to take their religion very seriously. I am not one who does, nor do I push my thoughts on people, but the girls in this film follow their strict mindset of judging others that they feel are sinners and are going to hell. These are radical evangelical Christians who feel this sort of violence is justified. It isn’t hard to look at the hypocrisy of what these young ladies stand for and what they’ll do to try and prove their point. Indeed, that is the most interesting aspect of the film. One that held my interest most of the way through, even if the earlier half is the most effective. Director da Silveira can’t quite stick the landing, but there are so many interesting elements here that the film merits a viewing. Maybe even more than one for those hoping to pick up on things they might’ve missed the first time.  Mari (Mariana Oliveira) and her lifelong friend Michele (Lara Tremouroux) are the ones front and center of this story. One night when the girls are masked up and seeking the next potential victim, Mari is attacked, which leaves her face with a large scar on it. She loses her job at a plastic surgery center for entirely shallow reasons.  This then changes her outlook on things. There is also a running subplot here involving a girl named Melissa (Bruna Linzmeyer) who vanished three years ago after being attacked and burned. With Mari now scarred, she hopes to find Melissa and gain some closure.

There’s a lot more to the film, including the males who go through their daily devotion, mostly by way of exercise in a kind of strange martial arts way. We get a lot of strange imagery, there’s a loud screaming noise that some of the characters make, and we follow Mari’s evolution over the course of the film. Not all this stuff works, and I didn’t find the second half quite as intriguing as the earlier moments, but this is still effective stuff. It might not be for everyone, but those willing to give it a shot might just take a lot away from it.

Video: How’s it look?

The 2.39:1 transfer presents the film nicely. Certainly, this is one with many colors and a lot going on, that nothing feels shortchanged. Details are strong, and the black levels work well since there are many scenes at night. I didn’t detect any obvious flaws. All things considered; viewers should feel pleased with the results.

Audio: How’s it sound?

We have a DTS HD track here (there’s a 2.0 track as well) that supports the film nicely. I was reading the subtitles the whole time, but the vocals still sounded clear. There were plenty of occasions where the track gets loud, but the track worked well, utilizing all the channels. Like the transfer, this track satisfies.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Screams of Liberation – A lengthy (27 minute) interview with Alicia Rocha da Silveira who has a lot to say. Like the other features on this disc, this one is worth watching.
  • Deleted Scenes – Little over 9 minutes. Nothing essential, but worth seeing once.
  • Director Q & A – After the New York premier, we hear from the director on a wide array of topics. It’s worth a look.
  • The Laugh of Medusa – A visual essay about the film
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

Seeing the masked females in this film on the solicitation was enough to garner my interest. Not everything here works, but things move along nicely, and it got me interested to see where things would lead. Medusa won’t be for everyone, but it’s worth checking out to get a view of a feminist thriller featuring religious hypocrisy. Check it out.

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