02nd Jul2021

‘Medusa: Queen of the Serpents’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Megan Purvis, Sarah T. Cohen, Nicola Wright, Stephanie Lodge, Thomas Beatty | Written by Matthew B.C., Scott Jeffrey | Directed by Matthew B.C.

Medusa, or Medusa: Queen of the Serpents, depending on which country you’re watching this one in, tells the story of Carly, a former prostitute who returns to the fold after a relationship goes south – undoubtedly thanks to Carly drug habit. Back working for her pimp Jimmy (Thomas Beatty), Carly moves back into the caravan site run by madam Val (Nicola Wright) and also home to Carly’s friend Simone (Sarah T. Cohen). Taken to a client and told to ask for Alexis, which turns out to be a snake, Carly in bitten mid-coitus and starts to undergo a dramatic change. Looking for answers she finds Alexis, now in human form, who tells Carly their paths crossing was no accident, and Carly has been chosen…

OK, OK, OK. I know, I know. This is another Scott Jeffrey production so OBVIOUSLY I’m going to espouse its virtues, how it’s s decent example of British low-budget horror, how Jeffrey and co. have done a great job with the budget, how the cast – featuring a bunch of now-regular performers – are uniformly great. I’ve done that for a myriad of Jeffrey’s films, be they written, produced or directed by him. However… here’s where things are different with Medusa: Queen of the Serpents… This film is unlike anything, I think, Jeffrey has been involved with so far. This is a topical drama, wrapped up in the skin (pun intended) of a horror film; like the best of the genre this film is much more than skin deep (pun intended again), offering a layered tale about how women are treated in society.

Honestly, who knew that we’d get such a strong film about female empowerment from a super low-budget British horror film centred around a bunch of prostitutes at a caravan site?

Medusa centres around Megan Purvis’ Carly. Now I’ll be honest, having seen Purvis in Conjuring the Genie I never expected such a powerful performance from her. It’s almost as if she was literally embodying the characters life, like she was super-invested in the character, in the journey Carly takes. It’s easily one of the best performances in ANY of Jeffrey’s films. And Purvis is ably supported by now-regular performer Sarah T.Cohen as Carly’s friend Simone; and whilst Cohen has been the highlight of many of Scott Jeffrey production (she’s great in Cupid for example) her performance is also on another level here; its unlike anything we’ve seen from her before: more intense, more impassioned, more raw and real.

In terms of scale, Medusa feels like one of the smallest productions Jeffrey has put together, in fact possibly his smallest since the early days of Fox Trap, House on Elm Lake and the Unhinged remake. But it doesn’t suffer for it. Instead the smaller scale allows the performances to shine; and it allows the films denouement to have more of an impact, as the film eventually lives up to the premise of the title – and possibly serves up room for a sequel!

The first feature from co-writer and director Matthew B.C., Medusa: Queen of the Serpents is quite the calling card for this new talent – he’s obviously made the most of what he had with this film, with the script and performances shining despite the films obvious budgetary limitations and I have to think that having him on board for more Proportion/Jagged Edge Productions can only be a benefit in future.

**** 4/5

Medusa, aka Medusa: Queen of the Serpents, is released in the US on July 6th, with a UK debut to follow on July 19th.

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