Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Judging by the name Masquerade in the title and the general logline, I didn’t think I would be too far off from my general assumptions. I thought I was about to watch a fun and thrilling horror movie about masked invaders intruding on a big masquerade party. Instead, the film portrays a horror-movie-obsessed young girl and her babysitter caught in the crosshairs of a priceless artwork heist. They must fight to survive and outsmart the attackers, who have creepy voice-changers and are in full costumes to shroud their identities. 

The main reason this one went on my radar was thanks to Bella Thorne. She has starred in everything from Freeform’s Famous in Love to MTV’s Scream series, and she always puts forth an impressive performance. Even when the material is lacking, Thorne is a reliable entertainer who does her best with what she is given. That is no exception here, with her turn as thief Rose being most interesting of the bunch. The rest of the cast is fine, yet something is missing. The characterization is virtually nonexistent and lacks any motivation. It felt like more effort was put into the concept than the fine-tuning of the performances or the suspense angle. 

Written and directed by Shane Dax Taylor, Masquerade is a simple home invasion thriller that had potential to be so much more. While it is a serviceable little movie, when Masquerade ends, it does so with little more than a shrug. While it may have a short runtime and never overstays its welcome, envisioning a better movie that cares more about characters—and its audience—is easy.

Masquerade steals your paycheck when it debuts from Shout! Studios on Digital, On-Demand, and theatrically in select locations on Friday, July 30, 2021.

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