In the last few months, storytelling has taken a halt in Hollywood. The year of the strike is ever so apparent in the land of glitz and glamour. While some believe one huge blockbuster weekend is the end all be all, some believe in more. More thought, more direction, and more layers to return a film back to its roots on the stage. Not since the classic SUSPIRIA has a film screamed out to be more than MEDUSA DELUXE. What exactly is this film? Is it a horror? Noir thriller? A nonlinear mess of thoughts and execution? Yes, it is and so much more. Honestly, I didn't love MEDUSA DELUXE but I couldn't look away and inherently that is the point. I was entertained from start to finish but when it wrapped the last thing I asked myself was what's the point? Surely the worse way to start a review but here goes.
MEDUSA DELUXE is a crafty and stylish thriller with a dark Tarantino-beaten Wes Anderson storyline. Along a backdrop that isn't so often used in horror, hair shows. Instantly you see the appeal to the LGBTQ community in the DELUXE but pump your brakes. There is so much more here than the normal drag queen-turned-killer regurgitation we have been witnessing on screens lately. MEDUSA DELUXE returns to a classier "who dun it?" narrative that will surely gain eyes outside of the LGBTQ community.
In the film, we follow a host of characters who are just as extravagant as the hairstyles they created or are wearing. Some stick out more than others like Renee the show's creator. Cleve, the disgruntled vet who can't seem to win the elusive crown, and Inez the curious little starlet that can't seem to trust anyone. All great to follow but not enough substance to really get invested in. That's the downfall of the non-linear presentation. You could start a different movie with each character but that doesn't mean it will round out a this movie in your favor.
Still, MEDUSA DELUXE is beautiful and should be seen just cause. How you dig into the story (which I left out on purpose) I'm assuming will pull you in or not. I stayed invested enough to see a conclusion that hoped would be better but followed the trend of the film. Give it a watch for the wonderful work of Robbie Ryan. It's brilliant.
Starring Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Clare Perksins, Darrell D’Silva, Debris Stevenson, Harriet Webb, Heider Ali, Kae Alexander, Kayla Meikle, Lilit Lesser, Luke Pasqualino, Nicholas Karimi WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY Thomas Hardiman