Skull: The Mask is one of those movies that has a complexity of moments that form a conglomerate of the mad and macabre.
Each piece of the puzzle seems out of sorts with one another but when placed together it somehow works.
The fact that it is set in Brazil just adds to the vibrant and energetic personality that is on show.
Written and directed by the dual partnership of Armando Foncesca and Kapel Furman, the film centres loosely on Brazilian mythology which dates back to the pre-Columbian era of Anhangá, a demon-type spirit according to the Christian version who wanders the earth after death.
In this instance Anhangá initially takes the form of a skull that has been heavily guarded over the centuries but is commandeered by Nazis (yes, them again) before once again being lost in time.
That is until an archaeologist unearths the artefact and brings it back to Brazil to be stored in a museum.
Before it gets there though, a sacred ritual is performed and the spirit is unleashed, killing everyone in its path.
With every kill, it starts to take on human form, presumably with the blood of those it’s killed.
The only thing that can potentially stop this entity is Padre Vasco Magno (Ricardo Gelli), who has no faith in the old religions; Manco Ramirez (Wilton Andrade), a kick-ass vigilante who seems to have inhuman strength; and Beatriz Obdias (Natallia Rodrigues), a crooked, hard-boiled detective who is trying to redeem her old ways.
The performances are top-notch with no one pulling any punches, allowing the grit and determination to pour forth.
The directing team have definitely leaned into their strengths with Foncesca seemingly bringing out the best from the cast, and Furman producing some gloriously gnarly and bloody moments with his brutal special effects on display. Making them a force to be reckoned with in the South American film-making scene.
The storyline may be a fractured and complex one, but Skull: The Mask more than makes up for its faults by producing a frenzied and energetic slasher flick that taps into the heart of its country’s mythological roots.
It’s hard-edged approach and cracking SFX make this an enjoyable and crazed journey with some wickedly dark humour along the way, that if you’re willing to let it course through your visual senses, will prove to be well worth your time.
Hats off to the creative team Foncesca and Furman.
You’ve made a fan out of this writer.
- Saul Muerte