‘Skull: The Mask’ MOVIE REVIEW: Indie Brazilian Splatterfest Should Appeal to Genre Fans

Shudder

Beatriz Obdias (Natallia Rodrigues) is a controversial police officer, acquitted for her part in an infamous mass slaughter, now investigating a double homicide in the house of an archaeologist who had just returned from the Amazon with a priceless, ancient mask.

Unfortunately for all involved, the homicides start to multiply, as the mask is possessed by an ancient god and the wearer sent on a killing spree across Sao Paulo. Beatriz and shady corporate museum guy Tack Waelder (Ivo Müller) are each in hot pursuit of the artefact, while ex-guerrilla Manco (Wilton Andrade) and local priest Padre Vasco Magno (Ricardo Gelli) are out to protect the world from the evil it has unleashed.

Skull: The Mask is a Brazilian horror movie from director Armando Fonseca and creative director Kapel Furman. As the Skull rampages across town with one, solitary focus, Skull: The Mask doesn’t concern itself with being anything other than a mystical Terminator, or Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Sao Paulo.

Fortunately, you aren’t here for Skull: The Mask’s plot intricacies. You’re here for a low-budget splatter rampage, and the gory effects are where Skull: The Mask really comes into its own. The nasty happenings sit nicely in that sweet spot between lowbrow and highbrow; and in casting hulking Brazilian pro-wrestler Rurik Jr, aka Beto, there’s plenty of opportunity for Skull: The Mask to remove beating hearts through busted rib cages and strangle some poor sap with his own intestines. There are also, unsurprisingly, a few wrestling moves thrown in for good measure.

Shudder

When our protagonists get a glimpse of the malevolent forces in the great beyond, there are some really weird, imaginative sequences incorporating a mysterious celestial skull god. There was probably a lot more mileage in exploring this cosmic-oddity angle further. Likewise, the fun sepia-toned opening where a masked hero tries to destroy Skull, teases an interesting backstory that never really goes anywhere.

At other times, you can’t quite shake the feeling the subtitles aren’t hitting the mark, and unfortunately Skull: The Mask runs out of steam at the finish line, so the ending feels rushed and somewhat unsatisfying.

Nevertheless, there is still appeal in Skull: The Mask’s crude modus operandi, and for an indie horror, it does mostly what you ask of it. The grisly splatter and cool effects work will appeal to genre fans and those on the lookout for something simple, yet largely enjoyable and unpretentious.

‘Skull: The Mask’ is now streaming on horror service Shudder – watch it HERE.

Official trailer (red band warning):


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About Adam Fleet

Adam Fleet is a writer from the UK, living in Melbourne / Naarm, Australia. Film nerd, punk, record collector. He has also written for The Guardian Australia, Diabolique, Junkee and Scream Horror Magazine. He can be found @AdamFleetMovies on Twitter and Instagram and you visit his very own 'Reel Important' blog HERE.

View all posts by Adam Fleet