01st Jun2021

‘Skull: The Mask’ Review (Shudder)

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Tristan Aronovich, Ivo Müller, Micas Carvalho, Guta Ruiz, Natallia Rodrigues, Beatriz Severo, Elder Fraga, Eduardo Semerjian, Gilda Nomacce, Greta Antoine, Lívia Inhudes | Written and Directed by Armando Fonseca, Kapel Furman

Horror fans will never get bored of eighties slasher films will they? I don’t mean this as a bad thing though. I am one of those horror fans that could happily watch eighties slasher films on repeat for the rest of my life. So it’s no surprise that modern filmmakers continue to make movies that a highly influenced by the era. Skull: The Mask is the latest film to give it a go.

Skull: The Mask shows a supernatural serial killer based on pre-Columbian mythology and Brazilian folklore out for revenge in a killing spree while a police officer and a musuem worker try to save the day. In truth, like many of the movies it was influenced by, the story isn’t particuarly great and it doesn’t really matter. It’s not really the reason most eople are going to watch it.

The killer himself looks prety impressive. There are many things and moments that will remind you of Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees and the killer is one of them. His sheer bulk and size are reminiscent of Jason, as are his outfit (although this one is generally covered in blood) and weapon of choice – although this massive knife does have some added extras. The mask itself is different. It’s a kind of human/demon skull with small horns coming out from the top. It’s a cool look.

The gore and practical effects are Skull: The Mask‘s selling point and they do live up to expectations. Highly impressive and super gory throughout. I enjoyed every head explosion, decapitation, violent stabbing and heart ripped out in all their bloody glory. Different from many slashers though, this killer is played by a Brazilian wrestler and they have used his skill set effectively. As he chokeslams and throws his way through his victims. I’m actually glad they didn’t overuse this part of the action because it gets close to being a bit too samey. As it is, they get things just about right.

Apart from the look of the killer, visually the rest of the movie is pretty great too. There’s some nice scenes and use of bright colours that go into the mythology of the story but my favourite scene involves the killer fighting a priest with the backdrop of brightly coloured stainglass church windows. The moment doesn’t last long but it looks fantastic.

Skull: The Mask does have a few faults though. Although almost every fight and death is entertaining, when either of those things is not on screen, nothing very interesting is happening and you’re just waiting for the next action scene. The fights, although gory and brilliantly practical effect-heavy, lack any tension. Maybe because of the lack of a good score or characters to really care about. It’s not a huge probem because this film is one to watch with friends and have fun with but I would have preferred something with more intensity.

If you can’t wait for a new Friday the 13th movie (and it could be a while) then Skull: The Mask might help fill the gap (with lots and lots of blood!)

*** 3/5

Skull: The Mask is available to watch on Shudder now.

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