This last weekend the world met the new version of the Chattanooga Film Festival, that due the Covid-19 situation the world is going, delivered its new rendition on a online version, bringing panels, films and other nice events for those who seek daring, weird and bizarre stories on film.
Lucky us, we had the opportunity of check a very interesting films from Brazil that really deserves your attention:
Let’s talk about «Skull: The Mask of Anhangá»
From the official synopsis: «In the year 1944, an artifact is used in a military experiment. The artifact is the Mask of Anhangá, the executioner of Tahawantinsupay, a Pre-Columbian God. The experience fails. Nowadays, the Mask arrives at Sao Paulo. The Mask possesses a body and starts to commit visceral sacrifices on vengeance for the incarnation of its God, initiating a blood bath. The policewoman Beatriz Obdias is in charge of the crimes, challenging her beliefs. A true mystical slasher film in the city of Sao Paulo.»
I’ll go to the point, I honestly was very pleased with this film, it has a lot going on, and never misses a beat. it has action, it has gore, a cool mithology , nice practical especial effects and a killer creature that easily can earn its place on the Slasher pantheon. I for one would love to see more of this character, and I think that the story can go to a lot of places on future films.
Now, that being said, while I was entertained the whole time, I thought that the plot feels a little uneven. There is a weird mix of a thriller with cop drama, adding some mystical Indiana Jones cuts, ON TOP of a very gory slasher, but don’t get me wrong, if this were turned into a miniseries I would be instantly on board.
What happens is that the film has so many things going on in a very short run time therefore some scenes were confusing to me, and also there were some questions that I couldn’t get answered (again, I am totally on board with a sequel/prequel/miniseries). I won’t go into spoiler territory, because I really think you should see this film, but I think I need to explain a little bit about the weird mix I was talking about, don’t worry, I’ll basically just expand the official synopsis.
For one, the opening act is very cool, we see two groups looking to obtain the Mask of Anhangá. On one side, there is an underground fighter trained to stop the dark forces, and on the other a masked mercenary that wants the mask for a (of course, EVIL) corporation, but how was the mask obtained by the Nazis (or is it Hydra? the logo threw me off) on the first place?. I wanted to know and see more of that… Maybe an extended cut?
Then we jump several decades ahead, and we meet Manco, the descendant of the underground fighter mentioned before (And if you know Spanish or use Google translator, you will get a sort of an ironic in-joke) after spending time as a guerrilla soldier on the run, he is looking to reintegrate himself into society with the help of a priest friend, only to discover that the dark menace they both trained to stop long ago, has finally appeared.
Somebody has found and awaken the power of the Mask of Anhangá, and now the mask is demanding blood for his dark lord. This brings to life Skull, a very cool character (signature weapon included) on a rampage delivering enough guts and gore to put a big smile on our faces. (loved the special effects, both practical and CGI)
And also in the middle of this mayhem, we have Beatriz, a cop investigating the disappearance of several children that has the nation on the edge, dealing also with hostility from the public, due a with a very dark part of her past that made headlines some time ago.
Lets not forget that (evil) corporation! They somehow lost the mask in the 40’s, they want it back now.
So all this get compressed in a very short run time, therefore like I said, while I liked the film A LOT, I was thrown off at times by the subplot going back to another character for a long time (not enough slashing!, OK I kid, I kid), only to cut back again when I was getting hooked on it. Nothing bad enough to loose me, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
One complaint, though: The film has a good lot slasher-free action, we get martial arts, body slams, even sword fights, but no CAPOREIRA? Eh? porque?
Directors Armando Fonseca and Kapei Furma (who also wrote the script) really delivered a bloody nice film, I am eager to see what they will come up with next. I would love to see more of Skull, and if I understood correctly, there are hints that we might.
Be on the look out for when this film gets released on VOD or (Cthulhu willing) ON TEATHERS on the near future.
The Chattanooga Film Festival took place ON LINE from Friday May 22nd to Monday May 25th , and I am still kicking myself for not being aware of it on time to cover more on it. Make sure to put it on the calendar for next year!