Friday, October 1, 2021

Bingo Hell Review: Scores With A Bright Style And Grotesque Practical Effects

Directed by  Gigi Saul Guerrero	Writing Credits   Shane McKenzie	 Gigi Saul Guerrero	   Perry Blackshear	Cast   Richard Brake	Richard Brake	...	Mr. Big L. Scott Caldwell	L. Scott Caldwell	...	Dolores Bertila Damas	Bertila Damas	...	Yolanda Gigi Saul Guerrero	Gigi Saul Guerrero	...	Hipster Girl Adriana Barraza	Adriana Barraza	...	Lupita David Jensen	David Jensen	...	Mario Joshua Caleb Johnson	Joshua Caleb Johnson	...	Caleb Clayton Landey	Clayton Landey	...	Morris Kelly Murtagh	Kelly Murtagh	...	Raquel Grover Coulson	Grover Coulson	...	Clarence Jonathan Medina	Jonathan Medina	...	Eric Wendy Conrad	Wendy Conrad	...	Neighbor

Release date: October 1, 2021
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Gigi Saul Guerrero
Written by: Shane McKenzie, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Perry Blackshear
Starring: Adriana Barraza, L. Scott Caldwell, Richard Brake and Joshua Caleb Johnson

When a sinister figure threatens the residents of a low-income community, a feisty senior citizen tries to stop him in Bingo Hell, a wickedly original horror movie with a fiendishly funny twist. After 60-something neighborhood activist Lupita (Adriana Barraza) discovers that her beloved local bingo hall has been taken over by a mysterious businessman   named Mr. Big (Richard Brake), she rallies her elderly friends to fight back against the enigmatic entrepreneur. But when her longtime neighbors begin turning up dead under grisly circumstances, Lupita suddenly discovers that gentrification is the least of her problems. Something terrifying has made itself at home in the quiet barrio of Oak Springs, and with each new cry of “Bingo!” another victim falls prey to its diabolical presence. As the cash prizes increase and the body count steadily rises, Lupita must face the frightening realization that this game is truly winner-takes-all.

Bingo Hell is all about style, and this movie has it in spades.  The film has a muted color palate and film grain for the town to let you know that this place is supposed to be a drab, down on its luck locale.  The bingo hall, by contrast, is bright and colorful with lights and sounds to keep your eyes and ears entertained.  However, the brilliance of this film is that the bright hall feels sinister and otherworldly, whereas the drab town feels secure and safe.  The hall has so much going on that it can feel suffocating and overbearing, putting you on edge despite the bright exterior.  And the style doesn't just go to the visuals; the film has a really great soundtrack that helps to move the story along.  

And this strange, but entertaining story is brought to life by some good acting.  The characters are exaggerated, as is much in this film, but they add flair to the already stylish endeavor.  The standout is Richard Brake, who gives a creepy performance as Mr. Big with his flashy but ultimately sinister persona.  And Adrianna Barraza provides someone we can root for as she investigates the strange happenings in her town and the sudden conversion of her closest friends.  And the film is also brought to life by some really good, and disgusting, practical effects.  Blood, ooze, and other fluids are ever present as these bingo players find out the thrill of winning and the consequences of their choices.  Overall this is just a really well made, entertaining horror film.

The story of Bingo Hell also tries to add some socioeconomic commentary into the horror genre.  The thrill of winning and of seeking wealth over community are ever-present in this film and are reinforced by the story and consequences.  I love when horror films speak to more than just entertainment (but don't get me wrong, I love entertaining horror as well) and Bingo Hell does all of that in a stylish package.  

Bingo Hell is a winner, bringing a bright style, wonderful music, and eccentric characters to craft an entertaining horror film that scores with visceral gore and social commentary. 

Watch it.
Jason Blum	...	executive producer Lisa Bruce	...	executive producer Kyle Chalmers	...	co-executive producer Chris Dickie	...	co-executive producer Lauren Downey	...	executive producer Jeremy Gold	...	executive producer Adan Orozco	...	co-producer Raynor Shima	...	executive producer Paul Uddo	...	co-producer Ian Watermeier	...	producer Marci Wiseman	...	executive producer
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Bingo Hell is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

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