Masquerade

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Masquerade Movie Poster Image
Bloody, brutal thriller is both confusing and dull.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 80 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The confusing ending seems to suggest some kind of revenge, which is iffy in itself, but it's also positioned as an excuse for some of the film's most brutal acts of violence, most of them committed against women.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Other than young Casey, who demonstrates bravery and uses her wits to stay ahead of the villains, no role models here (only thieves and killers). Confusing ending may erase whatever good qualities Casey has, depending on how you read it. 

Violence

A man bashes a woman in the back of the head, killing her. Bloody face, blood puddle on floor; he smashes her body with a hammer (crunching noises heard). Bloody corpse shown. Child finds and loads gun, shoots villain. Child in peril for most of the movie (she's scared and sobbing); she jumps from a high window and hurts her ankle. Child shot. Woman hit hard, crashes to floor. Character stabbed in stomach and in leg: bloody wounds, blood on hand, coughing blood. Dialogue about loved ones passing away.

Sex

Two characters stare at a third and make sexually suggestive comments about her to each other.

Language

Several uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Also "pissing," "hell," and "goddamn," plus "oh God" and "Jesus" as exclamations.

Consumerism

Uber mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults taste whiskey and drink wine and champagne at masquerade party. Two people admit to being tipsy and being unable to drive.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Masquerade is a home-invasion thriller starring Bella Thorne about art thieves whose plans are interrupted by a savvy young girl. Violence is brutal and bloody: Women are punched, beaten, and killed, and a man smashes a woman's corpse with a hammer. A young girl gets ahold of a gun, and people are shot and killed. The same girl is in peril for most of the movie, terrified and sobbing. A character is stabbed in the stomach and leg. Language is also strong, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Two characters make sexually suggestive comments about a third person. The movie opens on a masquerade party at which adults drink whiskey, wine, and champagne; two characters get too tipsy/drunk to drive home.

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What's the story?

In MASQUERADE, two masked figures wait in the woods, watching a house. Inside are young Casey (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and her babysitter, Sofia (Joana Metrass), perhaps unwisely watching a scary movie before bed. Meanwhile, Casey's art dealer parents (Austin Nichols and Mircea Monroe) are hosting a whiskey-tasting masquerade party, where Rose (Bella Thorne) is working as part of the wait staff. She phones the two figures in the woods, and, as the party winds down, she offers to give Casey's tipsy parents a ride home. The waiting figures -- Patrick (Michael Proctor) and his partner (Skyler Samuels) -- enter the house and start cutting paintings from their frames, intending to steal the couple's most priceless artworks. But time is running out, and, to complicate matters, Casey has escaped.

Is it any good?

This bargain-bin thriller largely fails at generating much suspense and succeeds mainly at raising questions about its characters' capabilities and its bizarre, baffling "final twist." Masquerade starts out strangely, with the masked robbers speaking lines of exposition to each other about their plan, even if their plan makes no sense. It hinges on them waiting until it's nearly too late to even enter the house and then leisurely cutting paintings out of their frames when they have no time to do so. Worse, one of the bandits must spend time hunting for Casey, so their workforce is cut in half. Not to mention: Why do they even need to hunt for Casey? Why not just grab the stuff and go?

Aside from a needlessly cruel murder, nothing much happens until the parents get home, and even then there's a lot of wandering around and more strange behavior. The mother keeps trying to go upstairs and check on Casey, but for some reason the father needs her help to find a flashlight. Thorne is arguably the draw for Masquerade, but her usual tough persona is squelched here; she's kept out of the action for most of the running time. That said, the ending of Masquerade is the movie's biggest "what?" moment, perhaps sending some viewers back for another look, but likely irritating most others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Masquerade's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?

  • How much of the movie's violence is directed toward women? Does that change its impact?

  • What do you think the "twist" ending means? Does it change the way you see the characters?

  • How is drinking depicted? Are the characters responsible? Are there consequences for drinking? Why does that matter?

  • Is the movie scary? Why do people sometimes like to be scared in movies?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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