Velvet Buzzsaw

It’s “The Shining” in an art gallery

One of February’s ambitious films is the Netflix release of “Velvet Buzzsaw,” a zany thriller from writer/director Dan Gilroy. It’s a movie about artists, who deal with the evil that lurks inside particular paintings.

Gilroy reunites his two “Nightcrawler” stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an art critic named Morf Vandewait, and Rene Russo as an art gallery owner named Rhodora Haze. Morf pans a lot of arthouse to the point of him hearing scathing reactions from art fans (as he says: “A bad review is better than sinking into the great glut of anonymity.”); while Rhodora was from a rock band called: “Velvet Buzzsaw.” Hence the movie title: “Velvet Buzzsaw.”

The movie also features Zawe Ashton as a tardy personal assistant named Josephine, who finds a neighbor of hers, by the name of Vetril Dease, dead in her apartment. When she investigates his room, she finds some dazzling artwork of his, and Morf and Rhodora are impressed by them. Morf does his research of Vetril, while Rhodora offers Josephine a deal to exhibit the paintings.

The talented cast also includes Billy Magnesium as the building maintenance; Toni Collette as an art adviser; John Malkovich as a former abstract artist; Tom Sturridge as another gallery owner; Natalia Dyer as a Josephine’s replacement as Rhodora’s personal assistant; and Daveed Diggs as a new coming artist.

The evil in the paintings I’m referring to, have their own unique ways of coming to life, and they begin to kill various characters. At the same time, Morf starts seeing and hearing things, and he can barely reach anyone about his issues. And all of this may have sometime to do with Vetril’s dark past, regarding abuse and murder.

I’d be lying if I told you I knew exactly what “Velvet Buzzsaw” was really about, but I still enjoyed it for its poetic dialogue, gripping performances, and bizarre taste in art. I admire the ways Dan Gilory gives art a horrifying look, without being all typical and cliche, and how he handles them with a zany tone.

And Gilroy guides Gyllenhaal, Russo, and Ashton with the right intentions. They have their own ambitions with the stolen art work, and they deal with the evil that lurks inside them. But really, it’s their chemistry that makes them so likable.

And as a horror movie, the score is tremendously composed by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders. They represent the terror with such style and charisma, it’s enough to give you goosebumps. And if I could, I’d tell you how radiant the end credit scene looks. Again, the story may get confusing, but the thrills and colors are nonstop.

Like they say: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Now Available on Netflix

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