The micro-budget, independent studio Mycho Entertainment, led by MJ Dixon is back with their latest entry, Mask of Thorn, a prequel to their previous installment Legacy of Thorn, and this time we get to travel all the way back to the eighties. But the question is, does Thorn still pack a sting?
Well, I can answer that with a head-splittin’, yes! Mask of Thorn is a fun throwback to the slasher films of the eighties, while also adding in a few other elements, too. But it missed a few steps.
The film follows Bethany Lovell (Eve Kathryn Oliver) who is about to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, although her strict father, Derek Lovell (Martin W. Payne) seems more intent on making her life as miserable as humanely possible. But still, Derek and Bethany’s mother Joyce (Tracey Chatterley) appear to be hosting a sort of party for her later in the evening, but Derek is cryptic about the whole thing.
While Bethany waits to be escorted by a mystery person on her Father’s behalf to the evening’s shindig, Bethany is kidnapped by her high-school friend Olivia (Sophie Bryant) to which they celebrate by breaking into the school and party just like it’s 1988. However, Bethany, Olivia and a few other acquaintances soon realize that they aren’t the only ones in the school after dark, and a great big hulking beast is just waiting to pick them off one by one.
But, will they escape and just who is this monster?
Well, of course you guys know it’s Thorn and he’s come to take what’s his and nothing will stand in his way.
Mask of Thorn is said to be an origin story of Thorn, and while it does give us some backstory to the character and his return to the fictional town of Avondale, it comes across more of Bethany’s story, and if you’ve watched Legacy of Thorn, you’ll know that Bethany is the mother of Jessica Lawrence. And as such, I have more questions about Thorn now than what was answered as I’m still not too sure where he came from.
However, the kills are awesome. Now granted this is a micro-budget feature, so considering the budget constraints, the practical effects that they managed to pull off were awesome; skull-crushingly awesome! And this is where Mask of Thorn truly shines, MJ Dixon makes what little he has work, and with the right amount of lighting and camera work, we get some killer old-school kills on-screen.
And this also plays out throughout, as MJ certainly has an eye for angles and shadows which he uses to his full advantage as we get some great shots.
As much as I liked the Thorn character, I didn’t really care much for some of the other characters, they just didn’t click too well and their scenes came across a little clunky. Most of the scenes set during 1972 I felt were a little off and what’s with that wig!? But, Sophie Bryant who played Olivia was fun to watch, same as Lydia Cashman who played the bitchy character of Julia Barrington and of course Eve Kathryn Oliver who played Bethany delivered well in her role as her character developed throughout.
Mask of Thorn is a fun slasher film, but I felt slightly confused by some of the story, again, I’m probably missing something here so please give me your take when you see it. But it has some interesting ideas and I think it is great that MJ Dixon and Anna McCarthy are expanding the Mycho Universe with their slew of original characters, which of course keeps us coming back for more.