- horror reviews - MOH 2019

Velvet Buzzsaw

IMDb Info

Release Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 53min
Country: USA, Canada
Language: English, Chinese, Italian
Genre Tags: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Plot Summary: A satire set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes:

Outside Reviews:

Brian Tallerico
2.5 out of 4 stars -

It feels like “Velvet Buzzsaw” needed another pass on every level. The script feels clunky at times, uncertain of its targets and willing to go off on tangents that the movie really doesn’t need—there’s a scene between Piers and Dondon that does nothing for the film other than to show John Malkovich can drop a free throw. And I kept hoping for it to coalesce into a statement about art that was deeper than “take it seriously.” There are also some weird, choppy edits, and tonal jumps. It’s an ambitious movie, so a difficult one to manage in terms of structure, but this flick lurches and stops sometimes right when you want it to be building up momentum. It sometimes even approaches “failed experiment” status, but a strong acting choice or design element just brings it back from that precipice a few times. One just wishes it never got so close.

A.A. Dowd
Grade: C - Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with his Nightcrawler director for toothless horror satire Velvet Buzzsaw

Would it have been too gauche to actually make the murders scary? Besides one grisly mishap involving a giant, reflective sphere with holes for guests’ hands, Gilroy’s big set-pieces are neither particularly inventive nor executed with much suspense-ratcheting brio. (What one wouldn’t give for the virtuosic showmanship of a Brian De Palma movie—or, hell, a lesser Final Destination sequel.) “All art is dangerous,” Rhodora sneers at a crucial moment, presumably summarizing Gilroy’s point. But if there’s undeniable difficulty in Velvet Buzzsaw’s genre alchemy—its attempt to mix a caustic, half-comic portrait of the gallery set with a supernatural Tales From The Crypt scenario—it’s all in service of a moldy screed about the commodification of art. Is there anything safer than telling people something they’ve heard a thousand times before?