Hitting Netflix on February 1st, Velvet Buzzsaw certainly has gained a bit of attention. Circling around a self-absorbed art scene, the film is very much a satire mixed with horror. These artists greed comes back to bite them, when they take advantage of an unknown, and deceased, artists’ paintings, which also just happen to be painted with human blood. Filmmaker Dan Gilroy, not only sets up a glossy and absurdly shallow scenario, but does so with some real star power behind him. Velvet Buzzsaw features Jake Gyllenhaal, John Malkovich, Renee, Russo, Zawe Ashton, Toni Collette, and Natalia Dyer. With a cast like this combined with the perfect horror setup, what could go wrong?
Well, let me begin by stating again, that this movie is extreme parody, so do not expect to characters to have any real depth to them. Considering the stellar ensemble, this is a little disappointing. Virtually none of the characters are even likable…at all. From a genre perspective, it’s a fun watch for a fan of the dark and ironic. However, many horror films excel when there is an emotional attachment to the featured players. In Velvet Buzzsaw, they are merely caricatures. The one character who showed any depth was Morf Vandewalt, played brilliantly by Jake Gyllenhaal. We see Morf actually display a wide range of emotions and transform somewhat by the end of this crazy journey through narcissism, phony behavior, and, of course, incredibly strange and unexplainable deaths.
While I bemoan what could’ve been with the cast, Velvet Buzzsaw does deliver with the gruesome, the unexpected, and a great underlying concept. The plotline is fresh, but weighs more heavily on its mockery of the art world than delivering the goods for hardcore fans of the horror genre. As long as your macabre expectations are tempered, and you’re not expecting the next A Quiet Place or Get Out, Velvet Buzzsaw is an original that’s worth the watch for the gore and the snark.