Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBuVnFJ5d5w

PLOT: A girl with unusual powers escapes from a mental asylum and tries to make it on her own in New Orleans.

REVIEW: In many ways, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon feels like the perfect story for 2022. Capitalizing on the general public’s wide superhero knowledge due to all the releases over the last decade, many interesting things are possible here without a ton of backstory needed. A mysterious girl that escapes from a mental hospital due to using these insane mind control abilities? Sign me right up! But does it manage to live up to that exciting premise? Yes and No.

Newcomer Jeon Jong-seo really impresses as the film’s lead. She’s practically mute but can convey so much with just a look. Her movement is extremely awkward and helps to sell the world around her. The few times she talks really leave an impact. But her powers are never fully realized in any meaningful way, providing only a couple of cool moments. I kept waiting for them to actually mean something to the story, but they were simple distractions.

Ed Skrein smiles in Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2022).

Ed Skrein is absolutely unrecognizable as Fuzz. I genuinely didn’t even realize it was him for his first few minutes of screen time. He’s also not in it nearly enough, as he comes and goes way too quickly for how fun his character is. And that seems to be theme of Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, as Kate Hudson is also playing altogether against type. She’s a trashy stripper who doesn’t seem to have a lick of a conscience. It’s a really interesting performance, and I love seeing Hudson play such an unlikable character.

Officer Harold (Craig Robinson) almost feels like Al from Die Hard. It’s nice to see him do something a little different. But his character suffers from the “I’m a cop and must hunt down the perp because it’s my sole duty in life” trope. It got a little old by the third act. Another character I feel I need to mention is the whole city of New Orleans, which brings so much flavor to the film that it needs to be singled out. There’s a dinginess that makes the film feel almost dystopian. As someone who lived in New Orleans briefly, I feel this nailed the city’s vibe. Warts and all.

Jeon Jong-seo stares through the window in Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2022).

Director Ana Lily Amirpour has always had a very interesting aesthetic (The Bad Batch, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night), and here is no different. A distinct visual flare is present that makes the film stand out from the jump. There are a lot of handheld camerawork and tracking shots that follow a subject from behind, which I liked at first, but started to get played out a bit.

Unfortunately, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon doesn’t really impress after its first act. Most intrigue is slowly squandered as the story just kind of meanders around. It feels disjointed both in the story, as well as the cinematography. There are beautiful shots mixed with so much ugly that I started to get disoriented. And while there are some truly great performances, they’re surrounded by such a bland story.

In many ways, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon feels like a distant cousin to the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time. But it doesn’t have a strong story to support its structure. While the visuals are a treat, and the premise of an escaped mental patient with powers is intriguing, it just doesn’t really go anywhere. While I had fun with it at times, it never really stood out in any significant way and is rather forgettable.

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is In Theaters, On Digital and On Demand September 30, 2022

Kate Hudson in Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2022).

Kate Hudson

AVERAGE

6

About the Author

236 Articles Published

Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.