Directed by Cory Udler
I'm pretty positive Cory Udler is not a big fan of organized religion. Udler, the mastermind behind the infamous Incest Death Squad 1 and 2, seems to wage his war on it behind the camera by satirizing the sheep and the wolves who prey on said sheep. With Mediatrix, it's front and center and mocks the mockery of all that is Christianity and it's inherit beliefs.
Mediatrix is an exploitation jab at the right wing neo-conservative religious right by inserting boobs, sex and rape to get its point across. Focusing on the devious Mary Ann who is a master manipulator on all things spiritual, she seduces the minds of the ultra stupid while challenging the status quo of a priest hell bent on exposing her.
What you end up with in Mediatrix is an odd black humor exploitation comedy that has screwball characters and a pure relentless wicked streak, similar to seeing a car crash during a funeral procession. Clearly it's messed up but oddly funny in a fucked up sort of way.
But that's not to say my fun-o-meter didn't pop up. I had a few gripes on the story, characters and overall lack of cohesiveness. There seemed to be a bit of dead air scenes and a few jokes fell flat. I wanted to see a standoff between the supposed good vs the supposed evil but you got the feeling it was going to be a one sided affair.
But as atheists would say, you play with fire you're gonna get burned. (Hmmm I'm not sure atheists would actually say that)
It is the story of Mary Ann Van Hook-false spiritualist who parlays her manipulation skills into wealth, power and even her own cult of followers.
We meet Mary Ann (Paula Duerksen) who raised by a stereotypical spiritual mom rebels by being the town bicycle. Clearly mom and daughter are scam artists de jour but Mary Ann it seems to ACTUALLY have a phone connection to the Virgin Mary (Shannon Lark). When she meets Carrie (Kaylee Williams from 3 Slices of Life) and her husband Will Brackett, they become an easy mark for our spiritual medium. Soon she's using her "assets" to seduce up Mr. Brackett and his associates all while stealing the pastor's congregation. All this leads to a showdown with said pastor.
Mediatrix feels like an extension of IDS with some usual actors back and some new ones in the mix. It has a sense of wacky and can't really be called a horror movie but more of an exploitation attack on how the gullible become gulled. Udler has always hovered his movies in a weird in between place of realistic wickedness and black humor oddity. This has the same feel. It has an indie quirkiness but also falls victim to not knowing what it should be.
It has elements of a black comedy but also seems to be hell bent on being a mish mash of other genres as well. Mary Ann, a tatted up, foul moth, druggie seems to hard to believe. She's a wolf in wolf's clothing yet the sheep are all convinced her spirituality is from the divine. I really didn't buy it. So many religions, especially evangelical Christianity could have been easily mocked and satirized but somehow it doesn't come out very well in Mediatrix. I was hoping to see a punk rock/death metal version of Book of Mormon.
The actors all seem to play heightened crazies. Duerksen gives a glimpse of her goods as the head crazy and does a good job in the role. It'd be nice to see Lark in a lead role as she has a scream queen persona to carry a movie. Udler regulars Matt Ukena, Scott Rawson and Tom Lodewyck also make appearances. Having remembered Williams from Slices of Life, she plays a very convincing sheep.
Mediatrix has fire of wrath vibes to it and has a feel of raw energy that most movies would be afraid to cover. But it also isn't as polished and straightforwardly wicked as Udler's previous Incest Death Squad 2. It's however fueled with an indie DIY spirit that oozes of Americana fuckedupness. For that I'm giving it 2 Hallelujahs.
Main character boobies
So the Virgin Mary is a hot coked up punk rock girl?
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Mediatrix is now out on DVD. The DVD has a Behind the Scenes and a trailer on it as well. Head over to the official site, Facebook group and follow on Twitter.
Check out the trailer!
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