By David Dent
If it wasn’t for the fact that John Burr’s movie was made in 2017 (as ‘Muse’, but now reissued in 2020 with ‘Legend of the…’ added), it could have been seen as a kind of Blumhouse-esque response to Joe Begos’s 2019 movie ‘Bliss.’ Both films deal with an artist lacking in creative inspiration who achieves success via nefarious means, and both involve female actors who spend a fair amount of the movie partly naked.
But whereas Begos’ movie centred his character Dezzy as someone who achieves empowerment through vampirism, Burr’s movie centres a male artist who becomes attached to a winsome, blonde an initially passive but sexually voracious creature who turns nasty when provoked. Hmmm.
Riley Egan is Adam, a painter whose canvasses remain blank. But when he assists his arrogant neighbour Hector (Max Decker) by giving him a lift to a business transaction – which involves drugs and guns – he catches sight of a scantily clad, ethereal girl outside the house (Elle Evans), who he nearly runs over as they make their getaway.
Their connection established, the creature enters his life, providing him with the necessary artistic inspiration to knock up a number of canvasses of, well, half naked women. His neighbour Maria (Kate Mansi) has already introduced him to Valerie (Jennie Fahn), the owner of the local art gallery, who has suggested that to kick start his flow he only needs to find his muse: and before long Adam’s paintings have pride of place in Valerie’s establishment (much to the annoyance of Maria’s abusive controlling boyfriend) and he’s doing the nasty with said muse; hence the lack of clothes (mostly hers).
But Ms Muse is in reality a Celtic spirit, known for being attracted to artists, ruthlessly faithful to anyone to whom they are attached but violent to anyone who gets between them and their man. And some do, starting with Hector, who ends up in the recycling bin, and sleazy landlord Lance (Phil Abrams), disposed of via a woodcutter that Adam just happens to have in the apartment for its main purpose of manufacturing picture frames.
There’s some interesting stuff here about whether the muse really exists or whether it’s just Adam becoming more ruthless, but for the most part this is a fairly unnuanced and routine supernatural thriller, handsomely put together (although Adam’s apartment looks like it belongs to somebody from a very different income bracket) and surprisingly well paced. If only the central set up wasn’t so, well, outdated, it may have been even more interesting.
Watch the trailer for Legend of the Muse below –