'Medusa': Film Review

Courtesy of Jorge Ameer

The filmmaker's campy turn as a bizarre witch doctor is the best thing about this genre exercise.

A mythology professor unwittingly unleashes dark supernatural forces in Jorge Ameer's indie horror film.

Prolific indie filmmaker Jorge Ameer (Sabor Tropical, The Dark Side of Love) takes an atypical detour into horror territory with his old-fashioned tale of a professor who unwittingly unleashes supernatural forces. Unfortunately, despite some fun moments and an enthusiastically low-budget "let's put on a show" attitude that puts more cynical Hollywood exercises to shame, Medusa suffers from too many stylistic problems to make it more than a curiosity.

Ameer himself is the movie's most sterling asset, not so much for his writing or direction but for his entertainingly campy turn — actually, campy may be too mild a word — as Kao, a witch doctor from whom mythology professor Jack (Jeff Allen) buys a mysterious antique artifact known as "The Mirror."

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As a general rule, buying antiquities from witch doctors, especially those with indeterminate accents, is not a good idea. And such is the case with Jack's new acquisition, which promptly causes a series of mysterious events, including his answering machine self-destructing. Of course, that happens at one time or another to virtually everybody.

But then Jack begins suffering a series of horrific nightmares, much to the distress of his nondescript (as a character, I mean) girlfriend (Britt Rose). He then turns to his shrink friend Steven (Tom Struckhoff), who specializes in hypnotherapy, for help. But Steven's professional qualifications must be called into question when, during a hypnosis session in which all supernatural hell is breaking loose, he stops to take a phone call.

"I'll call you back," he at least has the presence of mind to say.

It ultimately turns out that the ancient gorgon who gives the film its title is attempting to reenter the world through the hapless professor. In order to prevent that dire fate, Jack and Steven return to Kao's home, with Steven declaring, "The cabin is now a portal to the afterlife … Hades!" The climactic sequence involves green slime … lots and lots of green slime.

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While the film has its undeniably fun moments, it's undone by lackluster performances (Ameer's, as previously noted, excepted); subpar production values; and most fatally, egregiously slow pacing, which is made only worse by the reams and reams of expository dialogue throughout. This is a film that clearly doesn't believe in the adage, "Show, don't tell."

Production: A.J. Productions
Cast: Jeff Allen, Tom Struckhoff, Britt Rose, Katy Foley, Jorge Ameer, Torie Tyson
Director/screenwriter/executive producer/editor: Jorge Ameer
Producers: Mauricio Arrioja, Jeff Allen, Jorge Ameer
Director of photography: Igor Konseko

Not rated, 109 minutes