Masquerade (2021)

I’ll be honest, I have a soft spot for home invasion thrillers; most of the time they always entertain me, because I love how they can be twisted for various narratives by writers and or directors. It’s sad though when I was finished with “Masquerade” that I couldn’t get over how boring it was. This is a movie with a genuinely good idea that fails to derive much tension or suspense at every turn, and doesn’t make much of a case for caring about any of the characters. Even when it drops a big climax twist on us, I was generally indifferent toward the entire experience.

Eleven-year-old Casey is home alone — until a group of intruders, led by Rose, breaks in. They plan to steal her family’s priceless collection of artworks, but their reckless ambition is outmatched only by Rose’s opportunism. As the stakes grow even higher, Casey now finds herself in a fight for her life as the invaders prove they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want

Much of “Masquerade” revolves around the home invasion and there isn’t much stakes placed behind a lot of what we see. There are minimal characters, and minimal settings, and not a lot of rhyme or reason for what is established. There isn’t a ton of explanation as to why Bella Thorne’s character Rose has to bond with the couple she’s stealing from, there’s not a ton of reason why the writers establish a relationship between her and the couple of victims in the narrative, plus there isn’t a lot of reason why her character’s feelings flip on a dime.

One moment she’s conflicted about the big theft, and then once she’s integrated in to the central premise suddenly she’s a ruthless maniac. Why set up all this inner conflict with Rose only to throw it all away in the final ten minutes? You assume with such a big house that we’d get a lot of teeth gnashing tension, but director Taylor does surprisingly little with the setting. Most of the narrative is based on Rose killing time with the target couple she’s driving home, and Casey doesn’t get too much exposition when all is said and done. Alvyia Alyn Lind carries the movie as Casey, the young girl who does everything she can to fight back and survive long enough to help her parents.

Alyn Lind’s performance is the strongest among the cast, as most of the time they all look bored. There should be so much more emotional turmoil and suspense, but most of the time everyone seems to be going through the motions. At the very least Shane Dax Taylor is a solid director, but “Masquerade” is just a terrible film that doesn’t give us the best of anyone in the production.

Available in Select U.S. Cinemas, and to Rent or Buy on Apple TV, Amazon, GooglePlay, Vudu, and other streaming platforms, and pay-TV operators.