Director Dan Gilroy, who last teamed up with Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler, teams up with the actor once again in the new Netflix film, Velvet Buzzsaw, a horror/thriller centered on the art world.
A series of painting were discovered after the death of the artist who created them. The paintings fueled a sensation among the art world, bringing out the worst in everyone involved, particularly the greed.
And those people whose greed led them to profit from the painting begin to end up dead.
The film has a great deal of mood about it as the supernatural force contained in the art eliminates the art lovers one at a time.
There is a strong cast in Velvet Buzzsaw, led by Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. Once again, Gyllenhaal is able to transform himself into the character of Morf Vandewalt, an art critic who is as taken by the mysterious art as he is with the people in his life. Morf wants to write a book about the artist, but the research he does turns up some details that makes one wonder.
Along with Gyllenhaal and Russo, we have Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, John Malkovich, Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things) and Tom Sturridge and all of them do a fine job taking eccentric characters and bringing them to life. Now, there are not too many of them that are especially likable, but as they slowly become victims, there is a pleasurable feeling to their ends.
I thought the film started slowly, but by the second act, I was fully engaged by what I was watching. I was fascinated by the back story of the artist, Ventril Dease, and wanted more on him.
The film also serves as a satire of the art world, and in this way it is even more vicious than the horror movie. There is a vapidity on display here that attracts the art denizens to these paintings that stir up such a darkness inside each person.
There are some truly funny moments here too, especially poor Natalia Dyer who has to keep finding these victims of the paintings.
As I said, the beginning took awhile for me to fully get involved, but once I did, I liked what I saw. Despite its inconsistencies overall, Velvet Buzzsaw is a worthwhile piece of art.