The Medusa Touch (1978)

Set in London, the film begins with Detective-Inspector Brunel (Lino Ventura) being called to investigate the tragic murder of a man named John Morlar (Richard Burton).  Upon arriving at the scene of the crime, Brunel discovers this isn’t a normal murder, and the killer is nowhere to be found nearby.  As they investigate, they are also shocked to find that John is somehow not dead at all and just hanging on to life!  John is rushed to a nearby hospital with severe injuries and wounds that need attention. 

While John lies in hospital attached to monitors and hopefully recovering, Brunel continues investigating the murder.  Brunel speaks with many suspects and even studies John’s journals found in his home.  Through his investigation, we learn that John may have had a powerful ability of telekinesis.  Now, with the help of Dr Zonfeld (Lee Remick), a psychiatrist who met with John on several occasions, Brunel looks for a possible suspect.  Soon he begins to wonder if Dr Zonfeld holds the key to revealing what John’s true motives were.

The Medusa Touch is best classed as a thriller with some moments of supernatural horror.  As far as the thriller aspect is concerned, this film feels like a good old-fashioned detective story.  Brunel seeks clues and questions various suspects with the hopes of not only catching a killer but fully understanding how an almost dead man could bring utter chaos and death to many.

The pacing of this film is excellent, with the character of Brunel always making discoveries that expand the story and keep the film exciting.  Flashbacks and fun transitions fill in the unanswered questions and build towards the reveal, keeping the audience guessing.  But sadly, when it comes to reveals and big twists, I did find everything highly predictable apart from the final moments, which I’ll admit I found to be extremely unexpected.

Visually, I found this film to be highly pleasing.  Suspenseful moments and unsettling horror aspects are presented well, and the special effects shown, especially during the third act, impressed me a great deal.  Performances from the leading cast are pleasing.  Lino Ventura as Brunel is not only likeable but also wise, confident, and quite a determined character when solving the crime.  Richard Burton, as John Morlar, plays a victim well, but thanks to flashbacks, we see a dark side to this man, stopping the audience’s sympathy towards him.  Sadly, I found the performance of Lee Remick as Dr Zonfeld a weaker aspect.  She comes across as expressionless and even monotone at various times.  The musical score has powerful moments, but I can’t deny it also has moments where the music feels overbearing and unfitting, including during the introduction.

Overall, if you are in the mood looking for a classic-style detective story with a bonus cup of horror, add this film to your watchlist.  With a pleasing atmosphere and a pace that keeps viewers guessing as well as invested, The Medusa Touch tells a remarkable story with fun performances, a creative filming style, and impressive visuals.  Sure, the reveals surrounding the finale are predictable, but the final moments are certainly not expected.  In the end, I found myself entertained by this cinematic classic from the late 70s.

7.1/10

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

15th June 2022
Written by Peter Walkden

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Initiation (2020)

In this movie, one of the biggest highlights in America is happening right now at a university campus- pledge week!  During this week, young people attending university accept challenges to prove their worth, drink heavily and party. It's evident that social...

Relic (2020)

When a grandmother named Edna (Robyn Nevin) appears to have gone missing, her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer), and her granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote), decides to check on her. As Kay and Sam arrive at Edna's home, they confirm she is missing. A police report is...

Coming Home in the Dark (2021)

A family of four are on a road trip. The father, Alan (Erik Thomson), the mother, Jill (Miriama McDowell) and their two teenage sons Jorden (Frankie Paratene) and Maika (Billy Paratene), are travelling through New Zealand. We witness the general interactions of this...

Forever First Love (2020)

Paul (Steven Rooke) is a highly-skilled photographer working for a magazine company.  By pure luck, while visiting the Philippines for work and taking some photos in the local markets, he sees Anna, his first love (Carlotta Morelli). After seeing her from afar,...

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

The film begins with a narration explaining the Legend of the Ten Rings and its origins. We also learn about the man who discovered the powerful rings and used them consistently until something significant happened in his life.  The film fast forwards to the...

Die in a Gunfight (2021)

Set in New York City, Die in a Gunfight is a modern tale of Romeo + Juliet. The story is narrated by actor Billy Crudup, who first introduces the audience to Ben Gibbon (Diego Boneta).   Ben is well known for taking a beating and never seems to give up a...

Superhost (2021)

Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sarah Canning) are a young couple who are also full-time vloggers with their very own channel, Superhost. Together they have built a reputation and large following by visiting various hotels and holiday spots and reviewing them with...

Candyman (2021)

Continuing from the first film, which featured in 1992, Candyman (2021) is set in 2019.  It’s been an entire decade since Cabrini towers were completely torn down.  This new instalment follows Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who lives with his girlfriend,...

Hammer (2019)

The film begins with a young man, Chris (Mark O’Brien), entering the woods to conduct a secret drug and cash deal with another man. But during the exchange, something occurs that puts Chris on the run. While successfully getting away on a motorbike, he bumps into...

Hunter’s Moon (2020)

Hunter's Moon (also known as The Orchard) follows a family's move to a quiet life in the country. As the father, mother and three teenage daughters enter the small town several reveals are made. We learn that the house this family has just purchased had a previous...

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

Michael (Ryan Reynolds) was once known as an excellent AAA-rated bodyguard; well, that was until he was the bodyguard for a hitman named Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). After the events of The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017), Michael is depressed and having haunting...

Reminiscence (2021)

The future world has forever changed and Miami is permanently flooded.  The night is when the city really comes alive, and daytime is filled with emptiness and hardly anyone walking around. The film introduces Nick (Hugh Jackman), a man who limps on one leg due to...

Streamline (2021)

Benjamin (Levi Miller) is a fifteen-year-old young man who hopes to become the next Olympic swimming champion for Australia.  With his mum's help, he gets up every morning at 3 am to train with his coach.  His mother is determined to help Benjamin in every...

Respect (2021)

We meet Aretha Franklin as just a young child in this film before following her life and fame.  From this introduction, we understand her upbringing and what life was like with her family. Aretha would always have the honour of singing at dinner parties and even...

Hands of the Ripper (1971)

The film begins by showing us Jack the Ripper on the run after his most recent killing. When he returns home, he kills his lover, who had been unaware of his identity as a dangerous murderer. Witnessing this horrific murder is Jack's daughter, a small child sitting in...

Free Guy (2021)

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) opens the film with narration, explaining his day-to-day life to viewers, including working at a bank.  We also gain an insight into where he lives, Free City.  But when Guy begins to have vivid dreams, he makes some major...

Sator (2019)

The story of Sator follows Adam (Gabriel Nicholson), a deer hunter who lives a lonely existence in a "cabin in the woods." We learn that occasionally his brother Pete (Michael Daniel) will pop in for a visit and that his Grandmother who lives close by, Nani...

The Dead Zone (1983)

Based on a novel by Stephen King, The Dead Zone follows Johnny (Christopher Walken), a teacher who is head over heels in love with a woman he hopes to marry in due time. But things go wrong when Johnny gets involved in a terrible motor vehicle accident, putting Johnny...

Mosquito State (2020)

Set in 2007, the film introduces Richard (Beau Knapp), a talented yet highly obsessive data analyst who works on Wall Street. Richard is passionate about details. He generally keeps to himself as he lacks people skills and struggles to have decent conversations with...

Jakob’s Wife (2021)

Anne (Barbara Crampton) lives in a small town married to Jakob, the church pastor who enjoys helping others within the community. But for Anne, things could be a lot better, especially when it comes to her marriage with Jakob. Over the last thirty years, their...

Bleed With Me (2020)

Rowan (Lee Marshall) accepts an invitation from her friend Emily (Lauren Beatty) to go to an isolated cabin during winter. Joining them is Emily's boyfriend Brendon (Aris Tyros).  Our three leads begin the film by driving up to the cabin, and Rowan has a nap in...

The Ice Road (2021)

Set in Canada, the film begins with a group of miners working underground.  An explosion occurs, trapping over twenty men underground. Without air supply, it's only a matter of time until the men run out of oxygen and die.  With the clock ticking, an...