Review: ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’

By Carolina Garibay (not used)

My favorite trend of the last year and a half is the resurgence of horror movies. Once upon a time, horror movies would only come about in the fall and disappear again when Halloween was over. These days, spooky season is every season as horror movies and television thrillers are being turned out consistently throughout the year.

Netflix has even had their share of spooky success with series like “Haunting of Hill House” (2018) and movie thriller “Bird Box” (2019), both of which were instant successes. Most recently, Netflix teamed up with director Dan Gilroy on “Velvet Buzzsaw.”

The film was comprised of a star-studded cast led by an Oscar-nominated director and put on an extremely successful streaming service — a recipe for success that managed to be a complete flop.

The Netflix original is a satirical look at the highbrow work and lifestyle of artists, critics, and gallery owners that turns dark and deadly when paintings from an unknown artist are found and then used for fame and profit, despite the dead artist’s wishes. As punishment, the artwork comes to life to kill off characters one by one. The film explores greed, ownership, and ethics, which are themes Gilroy has touched on before in “Nightcrawler,” which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal.

When Gilroy and Gyllenhaal teamed up for “Nightcrawler,” they made a masterpiece. However, this time they just made a mess. Despite having clear themes and phenomenal actors (Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette, Rene Russo, etc.), the scares missed and most questions were left unanswered.

The movie ends and viewers are left with no real motives and no real insight as to who the mystery artist was. The attempted “jump scares” were so poorly executed and so cliche that it feels unfair to even call them scares at all. In the end, it was just a movie about pretentious LA socialites and some poorly CGI-ed ghosts.

As someone who almost exclusively watches horror movies and is unapologetically in love with Jake Gyllenhaal, I was extremely excited for “Velvet Buzzsaw.” Maybe my hopes were just too high or maybe the movie really is just that bad. I’m not mad, just really disappointed.