Velvet Buzzsaw Redefines Thriller


Katie Brubaker

The art by Katie Brubaker encapsulates the artistic style of the film, especially the opening with its brighter, almost-neon tones.

Connor Rose, Staff Writer

“Velvet Buzzsaw” tells the story of a modern art gallery that takes the works of a recently dead artist and displays them for their own profit. Little do they know, the art holds a darkness and supernatural evil, torturing and terrifying the gallery owners.

Netflix and Dan Gilroy knocked it out of the park, bring a gripping, insightful film that was bolstered by top-notch performances and a unique story. Dan Gilroy, director of “Nightcrawler” -one of the best films of the 21st century in my opinion- and one of the best directors of suspense, gives the movie the type of tension that it needs. It’s not a scary movie layout and execution, but it certainly is unsettling. Scenes that have characters like Hoboman and the artist of the haunted paintings truly unsettle you and leave you on edge.

This movie is not a horror movie, suspending many standard horror tropes in replacement with a narrative about the absurdity of the modern art scene and contemporary interpretations of sexuality, artistic vision, and abrstractionism. It’s a thriller more than anything else, prioritizing character development over unnecessary jump scares.

Scenes that have characters like Hoboman and the artist of the haunted paintings truly unsettle you and leave you on edge.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalia Dyer are outstanding in “Velvet Buzzsaw”, with Gyllenhaal adeptly portraying a homosexual man, confused about his growing romantic feelings for his coworker played by the latter. This confusion parallels Gilroy’s interpretation of modern art, contemporary masculinity and the abstract nature of both, especially within the artistic community. Dyer is a good contrast, a character set in her ways and refuses to believe in a higher power or reason behind the killings. Both her and Gyllenhaal’s characters parallel each other in development and conviction throughout the story and provide narrative balance.

I really enjoyed the color grading; since the film centers around abstract art, most of the colors are highlighted by neon overtones, especially within the exhibitions. The contrast in darks and lights was really impressive and expertly provides a tense background to an already suspenseful film.

“Velvet Buzzsaw” is a must see. If you were disappointed by “Bird Box”, Netflix does not disappoint, making a movie that adds substance to its style and brings some genuinely good performances by its ensemble cast. I highly recommend this film if you love thrillers and the suspense of a horror flick.