When you think of Medusa, what comes to mind? A cave in ancient Greece full of statues that were once human? Perseus holding her severed head? Whatever it is, it probably isn’t an English trailer park full of hookers. But that’s right where director Matthew B.C. and co-writer Scott Jeffrey (Dinosaur Hotel, Pet Graveyard) start their film, in a trailer park brothel under the watchful eye of Val (Nicola Wright, Cupid, Don’t Speak).
During a session with a client she’s bitten by his snake, Alexis. When what she first thinks was an infection starts getting a lot worse, she goes back for answers. Instead she meets another Alexis (Jamila Wingett, Dark Ditties Presents: The Witching Hour) who tells her there’s a reason for everything that’s happening to her.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a film Scott Jeffrey is involved with gets off to a slow start. What is surprising is that this time its dramatics actually work. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t exactly Shakespeare. But as a story about people on the margins of society the first half of Medusa is fairly well done. Addiction, self worth issues, violent johns, etc. are used just enough to give the story an edge without getting overly melodramatic.
It also doesn’t hurt that Matthew B.C. seems to have a bit more of a flair for picking interesting shots and angles than the other directors in Jeffrey’s stable. Some interesting visuals, along with a show of talent from Purvis get Medusa off to a solid start. Then, as the transformation begins to take effect and Medusa becomes more of an actual horror film, the script still stays anchored in the trailer park. The revenge angle makes the last half hour much more satisfying than the typical creature rampage we get in a film like this.
Unfortunately, if you’re expecting Medusa to feature a full blown Clash of the Titans style Gorgon, or even one like the Hammer’s The Gorgon you’re out of luck. There’s one brief shot of Carly with some CGI snakes growing out of her head and that’s it.
Mostly we get a kind of weresnake creature as Carly develops incredible strength and sprouts fangs, much to the dismay of those who’ve crossed her. At other points her entire face becomes snake like and she can spit venom like a cobra. The effect it has on the face of its target is a reasonably gruesome effect, as are some of the scenes of Carly shedding dried skin.
Jagged Edge seems to have found a talented, if oddly named, filmmaker in Matthew B.C. He has three films as a writer and one as a director currently in post production, so we should know shortly if this was a fluke or not. Having someone that can craft a halfway decent script would be a big step forward for them
It looks like for once Jeffrey actually put a bit of time, effort and maybe even money into a film. The script is solid, and the effects, if limited, are fairly good. Maybe that’s why Medusa is being released by Devilworks instead of ITN who have released most of his recent productions. I’m not getting my hopes up just yet, but if Jeffrey can keep things at least to the level of Medusa it would make reviewing indie horror a lot more enjoyable.