Sunday, April 26, 2015

Movie Review: Medusa (2015)

"THE ENCHANTRESS COMETH!" bellows auteur Jorge Ameer, as Kao.

Directed by Jorge Ameer, Starring Jeff Allen (2015).

Review By Greg Goodsell

Director-writer-Actor Jorge Ameer’s last horror/science-fiction project, D’Agostino (2012) was set in Greece. His latest feature, Medusa, based on the Greek legend of the Gorgon, is set in Southern California. Huh? That’s just one of the many things that don’t make an awful lot of sense in this horror thriller that combines minimalism, ad-libbed dialogue and claustrophobic settings for a most unique viewing experience.

Dr. Jack Peruci (Jeff Allen) is an academic specializing in mythology. He’s on his way to claim a magical mirror, which as one character puts it, “looks like a clock.” Disregarding warnings from his girlfriend Lana (Britt Rose), Peruci drives out into the forest to an isolated cabin. Meeting the flamboyant Kao (played by Ameer), the thobe-dressed mystic – recalling equal amounts of Boy George and the kind of TV horror movie host that one encounters on public access TV, offers to sell the mirror for $5,000. Peruci makes away with the mirror Scott free, in what can only be called a “Thrift Score” of the most deadly kind.

Candles, set the mood, don'tcha think?

Returning to his cramped, claustrophobic apartment – your reviewer has had walk-in closets that were more spacious. Things start to turn sour for Peruci. He falls ill with a high fever and has nightmares about the Gorgon goddess, Medusa. Peruci’s best friend, psychologist Steven Craig (Tom Struckhof) is skeptical. “Why do you believe in the myth of Medusa? That’s why they call it a myth!” he opines over lunch one day. Peruci is dead set that his recent find is authentic and offers a gateway to a new realm of human understanding.

Now, tell me about your initial misgivings during your latency period while you were seven years old ....

In the meantime, academics at the unnamed college where Peruci teaches want to pull his funding. They’re understandably upset: They’ve been stringing him along all this time and all Peruci has to show for himself is distressed, Victorian mirror to show for himself! (Believe it or not, there are lots of true-to-life academic funding and government grants that have produced far, far less!) These three gentlemen are likewise rendered in a stark, minimalist fashion. Three folding chairs in a dark room EVEN SMALLER than Peruci’s apartment. A projector shows a twirling Zodiacal sign to add an appropriately occult atmosphere.

More supernatural shenanigans at Peruci’s place ensue. Telephones ring, and distorted voices are heard on the line. Tremors shake his modest apartment, and yet Peruci’s knick- knacks fail to fall from the table. Sounds just like a quiet night in Southern California’s Earthquake Country to us: Being pestered by robo-callers with a sudden, run-of-the-mill temblor to jar the evening’s quiet.

Jorge Ameer also appeared as the Buttinski neighbor in D'AGOSTINO.

In one benighted night at Peruci’s apartment, Steven is pulled into a spare bedroom by a glowing video effect but later emerges none the worse for wear. There is a final confrontation where Ameer and company reach into the cheap, in-camera special effects bag-o’-tricks and then it’s all over.

Things are going to hit the fan very shortly in MEDUSA.

Ameer is a lot of fun as the flamboyant Kao, mugging hysterically for the last row in the opera house, giving a necessary burst of energy that’s gone all too quickly. Overall, Medusa features punchy jump scares and is extremely entertaining. Give this one a spin.


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