Film Reviews

Velvet Buzzsaw: A Netflix Outer Limits Horror Movie

Painting in a cluttered room.

Velvet Buzzsaw on Netflix that is set in a fine arts gallery world of Los Angeles. A gallery worker found a large collection of undiscovered paintings of an unknown artist whom recently died in her apartment building. The gallery starts an exhibition of the artist that haunts all of the gallery workers with deaths linked to the artwork they were briefly connected to.

After the paintings are discovered it turns into half a mystery and half a thriller film. It’s not that gory with body parts thrown about, frightening or disturbing to be a horror movie but a movie with a lot of twists and turns. It’s almost like adult Goosebumps especially like the first episode with the masks or like a lot of made for TV horror movies in the 80’s.

Screenshot of the dead painter's apartment. Messy apartment with books, papers and paint everywhere.
Screenshot of the dead painter’s apartment

This seems inspired by paintings that people kept saying are haunted like The Crying Boy, The Hands That Resist Him and The Anguished Man. All three of these paintings have a story and a tale of creepy happenings, eyes that follow you and people who move in the paintings. Some of the paintings look influenced by The Anguished Man but that’s just comparing brush strokes and earthen Renaissance-like tones with the prop paintings in the film. In short, the paintings look pretty good, creepy and eerie for the story.

The art gallery workers eventually do own all the paintings from the exhibition especially their favorite pieces that “speak to them.” The possessed possessions are a little bit up in the air either an entity that follows and haunts them to their eventual deaths or within an area of the damned paintings from the dead painter that by owning it curses you like the Hope Diamond.

A harsh art critic who also writing a book about modern art starts to research the painter’s life and motivations while eerie happenings start. We learn more about the dead painter from the research done on him. There’s also a small side story with a private detective recalling the disturbing life he lived with the art critic getting deeper involved with the research.

Screenshot at the gallery.
Screenshot at the gallery

The tonal shift is gradual and well acted. The characters are well defined in their world of uppity snobbery and shallowness absorbed into their work and world. But they are not caricatures of the art world, they are just art snobs. Surprisingly, there’s a lot of art snobs regardless of field that act like this. It would of been nice if there was a more defined villain with one of the characters. But the characters are picked off one by one with a building mystery but always attacking crimes against art like over criticism, selling out and elitism.

There’s a few dead bodies in the movie being killed while all the screams are of the bodies “being dragged off screen.” There’s pooled of blood in the more gorier scenes. The special effects are pretty much at a minimal level just enhancing the scenes instead of being the two thirds of the movie.

This is an enjoyable film to watch. The type of storytelling was somewhat reminiscent of a made-for-tv thrillers or a spooky Outer Limits episode. This may be the closest that anyone will ever get Outer Limits The Movie. What would of made the film look more stylized and fitting to the story if the film was shot more. It would of been nice touch but maybe too much for the film.

Genre: Satire, Horror
Year: 2019
Duration: 113 minutes

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Three out of five stars

All screenshots are from the film and the cursed paintings are of the artists stated
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