At long last, in the final stretch of Summer, writer/director Thomas Hardiman’s feature-film debut has arrived in theaters everywhere (as of August 11th) to deliver audiences the electrifying fun they’ve been promised yet kept waiting…and waiting…and waiting…for.
‘Medusa Deluxe’ is a thrilling whodunit, confined to an old, delightfully colorfully lit, industrial building within which a hairstyling competition is set to take place.
The film truly begins en media res…or immediately afterward…following the moment in which the competing (and trapped) hairdressers discover that one of their own has been murdered. Scalped, to be precise…and just before judging could even begin.
Not for a single moment did I feel at odds with the story, however, or left behind, despite the narrative’s having hit the ground at a sprint.
If anything, as a viewer, it felt as though the piece truly latched onto my inherent sense of curiosity (and nosiness) as the plot began to unspool. My thirst for gossip was undoubtedly being catered to and unabashedly flirted with, throughout. Regardless of whether I felt as though I was emotionally investing in the victim himself, whose scalped body lay at the foundation of this film, the true heart, and core of ‘Medusa Deluxe’ seemed to be its gift of being thoroughly entertaining.
In and of itself, the film kept audiences leaning forward–ears perked– wholly invested in discovering what would happen or be revealed next.
Koreless, the British electronic musician, is to thank for the music behind the film. I found myself tensing up in anticipation of some act of brutality onscreen that often never came, thanks to the quality of suspense cultivated by the music and sound design threading the film together.
‘Medusa Deluxe’ takes place over the course of a single night, in its entirety, and it is all set within the bounds of one building–its many winding hallways and eerily lit stairwells are the ideal setting for a film of this nature. You never can tell who will be waiting around the next bend. As it goes.
The location as well as the camerawork itself bore most of the weight with regard to cultivating a deep-seated sense of tension from the get-go. The film’s cinematography was executed by Robbie Ryan.
I was quite taken in by how remarkably well each sequence flowed from one to the next. At times, it truly did feel like there were no tangible cuts. The camera adopts a very human manner of navigating this story, in addition to the physical space itself. It is a moving, seeing organism, leading the audience around on mere whims and suggestions from the cast.
It only knows as much as we do…and there is something very open yet unsettling about this.
Not to forget about the hair, which really does speak for itself. Eugene Souleiman was the heart and hands behind the looks you see on-screen. After all, you can’t have a hairdressing competition without truly beautiful, masterful hair.
‘Medusa Deluxe’ possesses an undeniable sense of vision and integrity within its stylized visuals and twistedly colorful yet dark labyrinthine setting. The characters themselves are not to be overlooked or glossed over either, considering the depth that their strong voices lend to the journey as a whole.
Every element stands as a clear evocation of the intimate nature of this niche, deeply complex world in which these individuals are all hopelessly (and dangerously) entangled.
‘Medusa Deluxe’ is fun and also darkly fun-ny. Sure, the premise is gruesome, to say the least, but I wasn’t clenching my jaw in an attempt to merely get through it. I reveled in the twists of the journey that this story had to offer, no matter how implausible or random certain turns seemed.
And you know, for what it’s worth, some films just really deserve a great dance number….and this one was one of them.
REVIEW: ‘Medusa Deluxe’ Is the Summer Thrill-Ride You’ve Been Waiting For