Viewed – 26 February 2019 Netflix
I think it can be agreed now that Netflix has become a force to be retconned with and now attracts Hollywood A-list talent to front it’s growing catalogue of original content. So we come to this rather strange horror thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Toni Collette. Gyllenhaal plays an art critic who works with various art galleries to put on exhibits. However he is craving the latest big thing and after a mysterious elderly man dies, an undiscovered collection of weird paintings falls into his lap. However something is very wrong with these paintings, and the gallery owners, employees and critics are about to discover exactly what.
This was a strange one. Firstly Gyllenhaal is probably my favourite actor, and here he’s playing a rather camp, self-absorbed bi-sexual character who at times comes off like two separate people (when he’s in critic mode, he’s effeminate and flamboyant, otherwise he’s quite serious and masculine). However like many of Gyllenhaal’s characters – he makes it work. Russo is the rather bitchy gallery owner and not exactly a stretch from the last movie I saw her in, Nightcrawler, of which this is the same director. Collette is nothing special and an appearance from John Malcovich is forgettable also. Zawe Ashton as an ambitious gallery employee however, is just awful with robot-like line delivery making me think she was doped up on medication. However the core idea of cursed artwork and the mystery of the deceased painter is intriguing, just a shame it goes nowhere in favour of a series of (admittedly imaginative) deaths.
It may feel a bit lightweight and suffers from a TV movie-vibe but with quirky performances and a strong central idea I did have fun with this … but it’s far from essential viewing. That title has little reference to the movie either.
Verdict: 3 /5