Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw is an odd horror film where you will actually root for the supernatural forces to catch their targets.
Director Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal’s previous collaboration, Nightcrawler was one of my favorite movies of 2014. It was both unsettling and interesting at the same time, and Gyllenhaal’s performance was one of his best in my opinion. Velvet Buzzsaw see’s the two pair up again and the results are interesting.
This film, like Nightcrawler before it, bathes in the subject matter of the film. This film dives deep into the world of art, focusing on the industry of greed around art and not the actual art itself. It’s in this world that we are introduced to a series of just terrible people. Each one just as self-absorbed as the last save for one poor young woman who just can’t catch a break. Where Nightcrawler felt disturbing because it wouldn’t be a stretch to see such a series of events actually happening, Velvet Buzzsaw takes the supernatural route and thus lessens that nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach.
In Velvet Buzzsaw a collection of artwork is stolen from the dead artists apartment and is getting sold around by the art collecting elite. The problem? The artist’s paintings are essentially cursed. This leads to a series of Stephen King horror moments as these paintings brutally murder these would be profiteers. This movie differs in the normal horror tropes because honestly, these larger than life characters are begging to meet their demise.
It’s as this point that the movie somewhat feels more comical than what I imagine was the original intention of the movie. That said, I didn’t dislike what I saw, I just wish the film would have went all in on the bonkers side of things or would have doubled down on the horror end.
Moving past these points, cast wise Velvet Buzzsaw delivers in giving us some interesting characters to watch. Jake Gyllenhaal continues to prove that he is a master character actor. This can be said for the majority of the cast, as I can’t think of anyone that stood out on a negative end. Visually, this film does a great job of selling the horror/unsettling vibe that was clearly the aim for the film.
By the end of the film, I felt like what I got was a component Netflix film, which has been a rare thing for myself. It doesn’t pack the punch that Nightcrawler did for me five years ago, but this does give me hope that more Netflix films will up their quality on producing interesting films over generic commercial ones.