It’s no surprise that we here at Queerty are fans of a good old-fashioned whodunit. As far as we’re concerned, the genre itself is gay. Come on, the high-camp intrigue? The puzzle-box narratives that let you play detective right along with it? The eclectic characters—each as suspicious as they are likely to be the next victim?
We simply live for the drama.
So, naturally, our ears perked up when we heard about British indie Medusa Deluxe, a flamboyant new spin on the murder mystery that all takes place behind the scenes of an elaborate hairdressing competition.
The film opens (like so many do) in the immediate aftermath of a shocking death—one of the competition’s most respected stylists. Stuck within the labyrinthine halls of the venue while they await questioning from the police, sassy hairdressers and stunning models flit about as suspicions grow that the killer may still be among them.
Suspect number one is veteran hairdresser Cleve (Eastenders‘ Clare Perkins) who’s very vocal about her long-standing vendetta against her deceased rival, Mosca. Then there’s the competition’s fussy proprietor Rene (Wrath Of Man‘s Darrell D’Silva), Kendra (I May Destroy You‘s Harriett Webb) the brash stylist who may be paying him off, the nosy model Inez (Fleabag‘s Kae Alexander), and the ominous security guard Gac (The Batman‘s Heider Ali), who’s clearly hiding something—to name a few.
A number of the film’s characters are queer—which perhaps goes without saying, given the setting—including Mosca’s newly widowed lover, Angel (Skins‘ Luke Pasqualino, all grown up), who knows more than he lets on.
And, on top of that, the entire thing is a visual feast. Legendary stylist Eugene Souleiman worked on the film, sculpting unique and eye-popping hairpieces worn by the models throughout. If you thought the hair-ography on Drag Race was impressive, just wait ’til you see what Medusa Deluxe has on its head.
From first-time feature filmmaker Thomas Hardiman, the whole thing plays out in real-time and is designed to look like one long continuous take. The director says he was inspired by the more recent trend of makeup and style tutorials on social media, in which a captive audience will sit and watch for extended periods of time as someone put their face together, lash by lash.
After making waves at film festivals across the globe, Medusa Deluxe finally arrives to the U.S., courtesy of indie-cool distributors A24 (the studio behind last year’s Best Picture winner Everything Everywhere All At Once).
Medusa Deluxe is now available for digital rental and purchase via VOD services, so get those magnifying glasses ready—a mystery’s afoot!