There is no need to smuggle bags of chips and candy from the pocket of your hoodie into the movie theater tonight. Get comfortable, start up the Netflix app, and put another can of SpaghettiOs in the pot because tonight, its movie night.
The recent addition to Netflix’s wide range of television and film originals is the arthouse thriller Velvet Buzzsaw. Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, the creative mind behind the bottom-feeder-thriller Nightcrawler, Velvet Buzzsaw gives us a satirical look into the lives of the dishonorably wealthy powerhouse art critics and sellers of Los Angeles. The star-studded cast of bombastic characters parade around high art galleries as their money-hungry ambitions begin to unfurl to the satisfying tune of an old-school horror film.
Prominent gallery owner Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), and critic friend Morf Vendewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) open the film elegantly sashaying through the open spaces of an art gallery. The sinister scene yet to be set seems far off in the distance, past the ominous silver sphere at the end of the gallery and around the corner. It isn’t until a humiliated protegee Josephina (Zawe Ashton) stumbles upon the works of her dead neighbor Vetril Dease that it becomes an all-out battle of survival against a tainted collection of the dead man’s art. After swiping stacks of canvases from his apartment, along with the dead man’s cat, the desperate up-and-comer seizes the opportunity to make her way into the world of “outsider art” by releasing it to the power-hungry critics and buyers of the avant-garde scene. Unaware of the art’s haunting past and evil power, the ghastly canvas and pieces are purchased and displayed, and characters involved begin the path to their horrific downfall.
The dramatic scenes of murderous-art related deaths are effortlessly intertwined with Vendewalt’s investigative journey into the life of Vetril Dease. The further progression of Dease’s biography molds the malicious character of Dease into perfect hideousness while mirroring the growing intensity of horror experienced by the characters. Even as Vendewalt’s nervous breakdown progresses, and those involved in Dease’ art start dropping like flies, Haze continues to orchestrate events, blinded by the greed and indulgence gained from the haunted art. Even gallery visitors obliviously walk over a bloody torn-up body as if it was just another art display, dazed by their self-indulged perspective.
The film is not just a horror story, it’s a story that happens to have elements of horror, lightly sprinkled with dark comedy. It’s a moment in time in the character’s lives. All events go unforeseen by many involved until it’s too late.
Velvet Buzzsaw is a story of excessive selfishness and ravenous craving for power and fame. The horrific events of the film prove to have little effect on those so desperate to “make it”. Even at the end of the film, those who think they have escaped the wrath of Dease find themselves at the brink of their demise.
Do you like creepy stuff as much as I do? Check out some of my other blogs here and let me know what you think!