Masked Mutilator (2019)

After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, Brick Bronsky, a professional wrestler takes a job as a supervisor for juvenile offenders.

When someone wearing his old wrestling mask starts killing the teens, Brick and the kids find themselves in a very dangerous situation.

The tl;dr Review:

Masked Mutilator is, oddly, a weird enjoyable nostalgia trip. Filled with wrestlers.

The choreography is obviously scripted and robotic, and most, if not all of the male actors are definitely from some wrestling group or another (Brick Bronsky is a WWE wrestler, and some of the others are from WCE and whatnot (I actually don’t know much about wrestling groups, aside from their being fake), but this is pretty much deliberate and just adds to the cheese that is Masked Mutilator. It’s a throwback to older B-horror slasher films and features plenty of the tropes.

But that said, it’s definitely something that would appeal more to the older generation than the new, as it’s pretty much just a tribute movie.

The Full Review:

There’s something amusing about seeing giant men pretending to hit each other. They know it’s fake, you know it’s fake, but you’re still watching it.

For the record, I hate WWE and other wrestling groups like that. I’d rather watch a UFC fight, where people are actually getting punched and kicked.

But the fakeness is also what makes Masked Mutilator work. It’s a cheesy nostalgia trip that almost perfectly replicates the B-horror slashers from way back when. The acting and fights are deliberately bad, the characters are basic slasher cliches (including the slutty one), and the dialogue just makes every other scene sound like the pre-fight dialogue for every WWE match ever.

It’s also one of the most enjoyably cheesy horror films I’ve seen all year.

At the centre of Masked Mutilator is Brick Bronsky, a no-nonsense, super strict guy with a wrestling background. He runs a youth rehabilitation centre, and he pretty much runs it like a prison, except that he doesn’t. But he does? It doesn’t make sense (until you watch the movie), and I don’t think it was supposed to at any point. Basically the kids can run around throughout and do stuff, so long as they don’t do anything illegal. So a whole lot of shenanigans occurs.

The shenanigans is pretty much the point of the film, it’s even part of the slasher bits. Here we see the characters becoming the cliches that we’ve been missing from slashers for, well, decades now. There’s the slut, there’s a TON OF JOCKS, there’s the rebel, the virgin, the smart-ish (but not really) guy, the handsome hero type (who also knows kung fu), and the tortured soul (who isn’t really all that tortured). You pretty much have your whole set. They don’t even really do much outside of their cliches, which is oddly perfect because…

EVERYTHING IS CHEESY. Everything. The fights, the acting, the soundtrack, the dialogue. It’s all so very cheesy and bad and ridiculous. All the buff types act more or less the same, the slut character probably has enough diseases to kill a country, the virgin acts like most old-school depictions of virgins in horror, and, well, you get the idea.

Even the killer is ridiculous, and to cement the, “old school B-horror slasher,” vibe, he even wears a mask. Not just any mask. He wears a wrestling mask.

But enough about that, what I really want to talk about is the obvious highlight:

The choreography.

It is so very staged, and it reminded me of the boring shifts at the theatre where everyone would just watch WWE matches on the flat screen TVs in the lounge. More than half of the match was pre-fight dialogue, and the fights were so fake that they became somewhat enjoyable because of the deliberate staged feeling. This is very much what makes Masked Mutilator stand out. Also, when there’s a fight and you see someone trying to use a wrestling pin move on the other person, you giggle. There’s no attempt at realism here. Everything is so obviously, deliberately staged that it almost comes off as genius.

The dialogue was, also, what I felt was a personal highlight. The lines all feel ridiculously melodramatic and, often, very macho. There’s just a lack of realism to them that makes them so very noteworthy, especially when the majority of it sounds like something a WWE wrestler would say. It’s so deliciously funny.

It even visually comes off as an old B-horror slasher. Someone went out of their way to give most of the film a, “filmed on a film reel,” look, with the majority of scenes being grainy and/or occasionally having those weird random white lines flash on screen (I don’t know what they’re called). This is what completed the nostalgia trip for me. Masked Mutilator is very much a throwback to old slasher flicks.

But here lies the problem.

Unlike old-school slasher flicks, there’s no balance here. Everything, every single element is basically pushed to one side and forced there. I mean, it makes sense, considering this is supposed to be a hybrid between slasher and, well, wrestling movie, but it also causes one to lose a bit of interest. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it is apparent enough to cause mild annoyance.

That all said, Masked Mutilator is an enjoyable throwback to the cheesy films. Definitely a film for people who watched those types of movies back in the day. So if you like old B-horror slashers, then Masked Mutilator is definitely a film for you.

-Joseph

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