Skull: The Mask
Brazilian gory horror Skull: The Mask combines myth and modernity by revolving the action around the reemergence of an ancient artefact in the busy city of São Paulo. The mask of Anhangá, the executioner of a pre-Colombian god, brings havoc and bloodshed in a seemingly uncontrollable and random way. Police detective Beatriz attempts to put an end to the carnage and unveil the mystery behind it, but as she works on the case she must come face to face not only with supernatural forces, but also with corruption and moral failings.
A prologue shows Nazi military men perform a ritual with the ancient mask in the Amazon forest in 1944. Their attempt to use the artefact to their advantage, however, goes wrong. Years later, the mask is discovered at an archeological site and brought to São Paulo, where a seedy corporation is already scheming to make profit from it. As soon as it reaches the city, the relic’s magical powers are unleashed and revived. The mask possesses the body of an innocent man and goes on a killing spree to appease its god.
There are moments when the film does work, but these are interspersed with over-the-top actions and some bizarre directorial choices. Even allowing for a degree of peculiarity, there are still too many odd elements at play. Ultimately, the plot never transcends its basic scope of providing a framework and pretext for the splatter and the homages paid to the genre.
The gory special effects are well executed and the tentacled skull at the centre of the action is made convincingly, but what is lacking is the fear and unease that would make the audience feel emotionally involved. There is no suspense preceding the murders as the focus is on the action and the visual effects rather than the overall atmosphere or storyline.
Skull: The Mask will no doubt please fans of traditional horror films as it resorts to many of the genre’s favourite elements, but it falls short of being an outstanding feature.
Skull: The Mask is released digitally on demand on 27th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for Skull: The Mask here: