Muse, written and directed by John Burr (“The Last Kill”, “Boots”) is a horror movie that tells the story of Adam, Riley Egan (“Meat the Vegans”), a talented painter who lacks the inspiration he needs to make it big, that’s until he meets his muse.
Unlike some (most) horror films where the main object is to terrify it’s viewers, Muse rises up to offer a decent storyline as well.
John Burr hasn’t relied on big bangs and excess gore to hold the viewers attention but settles for more subtle, eerie style of filmmaking.
Muse isn’t going to scare any seasoned horror fans but it was refreshing for me to see a director value a subtle ever-present sense of danger over cheap scare tactics.
Riley Egan plays the part of the quiet, gentle artist Adam very well but what’s most interesting is the way his character develops over the course of the movie, shifting gradually from timid recluse to confident and even slightly power-hungry.
Whilst Muse does take a little while to get going, once it’s in full flow it easily holds the viewers attention. The storyline might not be the most original but it’s well acted by its main characters and some of the scenes are wonderfully shot; there’s a scene where Adam is painting over the course of several days that’s particularly beautiful.
Leannán Sí, Elle Evans (“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse“, “The Love Witch”), is perfect as the beautiful muse who understandably turns the heads of almost every man in sight.
Despite her non-existent dialogue, Evans radiates raw sexual prowess and comfortably expresses a whole set of convincing emotions from tender and mysterious to jealous to angry.
Parts of the movie are a bit gruesome (though not overly) and there are quite a few scenes of nudity where Evans, a once-upon-a-time Playboy Playmate of the month, uses her figure to entirely captivate Adam.
Burr could have gone much further with the sexual content but it’s refreshing to see some restraint and even the love-making scenes are shot rather artistically – though they’re still not ones you’d comfortably sit through with your parents!
Not satisfied with one beautiful lady Adam pursues another, Kate Mansi
(“How I Met Your Mother (TV)”, “Nightclub Secrets”), Maria, it serves to show the intentions of Leannán Si though the outcome is of course quite predictable.
Burr manages to explain the concept of Leannán Si through Valerie, Jennie Fahn (“Romantic Skeletons”, “Gloria Bell”) in a way that doesn’t feel like being spoon fed though it’s not until much later in the film that scenes early on start to fall into place, though even then they still feel a little disjointed.
Muse wraps up nicely and Burr has done well to reward the viewers patience with a suitable ending.
If you’re looking for quick scares and gore then Muse probably isn’t the film for you but if you’re interested in a horror that’s almost more drama than horror, an eerie story with some artistic shots and some good acting then it’s definitely worth a watch