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GoHard PT Group

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Moyen Choyen
Moyen Choyen


05 min ago - It is only in Medusa Deluxe’s nightmarish, hazy final moments that any of the characters discuss what drew them to this hairstyling competition in the first place, unwittingly locking them in such a cursed space and subjecting them to unrestrained violence.

“It’s your little way to change the world,” Cleve (Clare Perkins) surmises to Angel (Luke Pasqualino) when reflecting on the practice of hairdressing. “And you know what’s funny? It’s dead the minute it leaves the follicle.”

While the camera rotates–suspending watchers above the room as the scattered bottles of gel and cans of spray blur into meaningless patterns–the whole film is gently reframed. Suddenly it becomes clear that the death plaguing these characters isn’t antithetical to this setting, but born from the kind of competition which siphons off body parts to be judged independently, cruelly.

Medusa Deluxe follows the stylists and models who are forced to address imminent danger when one of their competitors is found dead and scalped. Despite the arresting subject matter, the film is defined by fluidity, characteristic of the single-shot method writer/director Thomas Hardiman uses to tell this story. Cinema has a long history of utilizing the one-shot effect to suit the trappings of a thriller, mapping the fears and uncertainties of the characters onto a contained setting (in this case, the anonymously designed, shadowy hallways which define this building).

As with all filmmaking tools, it can be thrillingly executed and unnecessarily mimicked, with Medusa Deluxe’s continuity serving as proof that a director can succeed without relying on obvious editing to carve out something undeniable. But the absence of clear cuts doesn’t necessarily mean a film will amass into something cohesive in and of itself. In Medusa Deluxe, this technique balances on the border between distracting and meaningful, ultimately tipping into the latter with the film’s whirlwind ending

Hardiman astutely recognizes that the least compelling part of a whodunnit is often the final discovery, and instead chooses to follow these people as the mystery ensnares them, wrapping them in dizzying circles. While the single-shot method is usually there to convey a sense of reality—trapping the audience in real time—Medusa Deluxe uses it to warp time and space, lending the story (fittingly) mythic proportions. As the film hurtles into night, darkness infects the winding set with patches of fluorescent light, guiding the characters around a haunted flight path. In a thrilling, if obvious, moment, the sweet and newly religious hairdresser Divine (Kayla Meikle) approaches the security guard and suspected scalper, Gac (Heider Ali), to embrace him under the glow of an overhead light, offering him the promise of God’s love and forgiveness. It is one of the only moments that is lit so brightly, with everything laid out unambiguously; an interaction shrouded in barely-there admissions, while also serving as the first obvious crack under pressure, the first blunt sawing of our frayed tether to reality.

Using a hairdressing competition as background for this slow-build thriller successfully strands viewers in an unfamiliar space. It is unclear during what time the story transpires, what stage of the competition is wrapping these competitors up. Instead, what immediately catches the audience is the array of ostentatious styles adorning the models, each painstakingly rendered and stacked high. These eye-catching visuals throw us into a strange position, navigating the way to observe without furthering the descent into voyeurism, which underscores the violence at the heart of the film. As the credits close, and the revolving cast of characters, now clad in sequined shirts, dance energetically across an empty stage, it is up to the audience to determine whether they have been complicit in judging these characters, in nurturing the aggression which has reverberated through this building for the last two hours.

Medusa Deluxe’s cast is thrillingly assembled, buoying the heavy subject matter with moments of real humor born from such a bizarre situation. But it is really an achievement in directing, and Hardiman’s bold and invigorating eye unveils Medusa Deluxe as the next iteration of the haunted house film. As a feature film debut this is a miraculous venture, one that feels glamorous and big while still relishing in the sparks that emit from talented actors finding new and interesting ways to fill an empty space.efretretyry


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