If you know anything about fairy tales, then you know fairy is in truth a slight against the fae, mocking their ugly appearance, and that fairies weren’t kind to humans, using them for sport, or sometimes, even for food. Leannán Sí (le ‘non she) (or Seelie) takes on the version of beauty desired by their victim/lover, in John Burr’s MUSE.
Adam (Riley Egan) is a struggling artist; he’s good, but he hasn’t found the thing that pushes his work over the top. Marie (Kate Mansi) is his pretty neighbor with a successful (read asshole) artist/lover, Jason (Lou Ferrigno Jr. – yes, that Lou Ferrigno Jr.). Valerie is the gallery owner, and the one that talks to Adam about finding his muse.
Adam’s need to pay his rent gets a helping hand when his possible drug lord neighbor, Hector (Max Decker), hires him to drive him into the Los Angeles foothills on an errand where Adam might just meet his muse. Bad thing happen (because of course they do), shots are fired, missing people are found…and she appears, and disappears.
Back home, Adam is finally inspired to greatness, Valerie loves his new work, and quips that he has apparently finally found his Leannán Sí. Adam continues to produce truly inspired art and seriously, whomever does the art for this is really quite good. Their use of shadows and darkness against a white background is perfectly in tune with the darkness of the storyline and well contrasted to the soft beauty of the muse.
The Leannán Sí (Elle Evans) is at first barely seen, but the effects of her viciousness are documented. Once we do see her, at first, you can’t believe she’s dangerous, but there’s a quality to her gaze, an undercurrent of growling that lets you know, even without any dialogue, that she is the one in control of the ensuing relationship with Adam.
As Adam’s enemies start piling up, we see just how protective his muse really is. We learn the true nature of being loved by a Leannán Sí and are given a hint of how those affairs end. In the end, Adam makes sacrifices to protect Marie and Valerie, as I found myself yelling at the screen for Adam to not look back. But Adam does look back…
A mixture of supernatural with a couple jump scares, MUSE ended up being a really well done film. The storyline was great, and while I normally figure out a movie by the middle, there were twists towards the end that threw me off and had me second guessing myself, which had me loving this movie even more. Visually, this was more than satisfying, the music fit perfectly and wasn’t overdone, the acting, especially Elle as the muse (who never spoke a word, but emoted so damned well, it was scary), was much better than one might expect from an indie film. If you have the opportunity, See. This. Movie.
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