Medusa (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Medusa (2022) Review

Horrorific content by n_degus on February 01st, 2023 | Movie Review | Female Revenge, Religion, Cult, Mind Bender, Psychological, Madness, Thriller, Mystery, Dangerous Exploration

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It's about a group of women in a future Christian-fascist Brazil who act as a vigilante group beating any women they deem impure or sinful.

Medusa was directed by Anita Rocha da Silveira and stars Mari OliveiraLara TremourouxBruna LinzmeyerThiago FragosoFelipe Frazão (The Devil Lives Here), Joana MedeirosBruna GCarol RomanoJoão Vithor Oliveira, and Gui Heck.

Medusa (2022) Review

Medusa begins with an exorcism scene, in which a woman is shown possessed and dancing frantically to hypnotic synth music while drenched in eerie orange and green neon lights. The woman in the video performs an unnatural dance that makes viewers uncomfortable. It is revealed that the dance is being watched on the phone by a young woman taking the bus. The young woman is not safe. A young woman is followed by a group of girls wearing plain white masks. The girls beat her and shame her for her "sins," thinking they are protecting her by doing so.

Anita Rocha da Silveira's new horror film is a dark, fantastical tale written in response to the rise of evangelical Christianity in Brazil and the political power this group has been gaining. The film follows a group of women who believe in their faith so strongly that they go out at night to attack any woman walking by themselves. Medusa tells the story of Mari (played by Mari Oliveira), a woman in a sect who is badly scarred after an attack goes wrong. So she sets out to find Melissa, a mythical woman who is said to have been the first victim of the sect's violence. She was allegedly branded a home wrecker and had her face burned to "purify her soul." This leads Mari to work as a nurse in a clinic for coma patients, hoping she'll find Melissa there.

Medusa is a horror film that aims to protest against the increasing political climate that threatens the safety and rights of women in da Silveira's home country of Brazil. However, the film falls short of its goals, failing to be genuinely biting or effective in its message. Nevertheless, there are some interesting recurring motifs, such as the mirroring of Mari putting lip gloss on a recruit versus Mari applying Vaseline to her patients' mouths and how taking care of bodies feeds into her growing tenderness toward those who are suffering. In addition, images of snakes shadow her throughout the film, creating a striking visual that blends the Medusa mythology. The legend of Medusa originates from the demonization of Eve, so it is hardly surprising that Medusa is a story about women discovering their inner demons, the ones that make them screech in agony and cry out for freedom from the patriarchy.

In a climactic scene, Mira and Michele attend a party in the middle of the forest where everyone is wearing masks and dancing sensually. Regrettably, the celebration is cut short by the Watchmen, a group of toxic men that "protects" the town from "sin." The scene should be one of joy and explosive pain, but it falls short. Unlike Kubrick's masterpiece Eyes Wide Shut, there is nothing magnetic about Mira's journey.

Worth Watching? 

Medusa is filled with bizarre, dreamlike moments that make it enjoyable to watch, but it becomes less coherent as it goes on. Initially, the movie cleverly satirizes feminine stereotypes, but this fades after the first act. It's an ambitious but demanding effort that asks a lot from its audience.

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