Larry Eust’s “Homebody” was one of the lesser-known items in countless 70s movies. The black comedy on the horrors of 1974 was about a community of vulnerable elderly retirees who became surprisingly strong এমনকি even homicidal রক্ষা to protect their homes from the violent forces of market-driven “progress”. A similar premise is the starting point of “Bingo Hell”, which introduces second-class features under the umbrella “Welcome to the Bloomhouse” on Amazon Prime with “Black Age Night”. This is the first full-length single-managed project for Gigi Saul Guerrero to exchange the “homebody” Cincinnati grit for the hot palette of the Southern California desert city.
Comedy and horror elements are also on the rise – probably too much. Whatever it is, another caustic commentary on the gentleman at the expense of the elders that begins soon turns into a half-baked Stephen King area, as a much-needed mysterious supernatural stranger in town proves the real danger here. He’s a vague definition, however, evokes a little real suspense because Guerrero emphasizes a cartoonish tenor of satire whose exact point is also vague. The results are fun for a while. But leaving some of its thematic and descriptive concepts undeveloped, this “hell” feels faint in just 85 minutes.
Oak Springs has definitely seen better days, with every other home for sale and long-term business closed. Lupita (Adriana Barraja of “Babel”) holds things together, a busy man who presides over the whole city, and especially a social circle of long-time colleagues: hair stylist Eolanda (Bartila Damas), auto mechanic Clarence (Grover Coulson), Handyman Morris (Clayton Landy) and recently widowed Mario (David Jensen). They are all annoyed at this growing NiSang Berg, tempted by the developer’s offer to buy a home. (Lonely Hipster Caf suggests that gentrification is indeed underway.) Lupita’s BFF Dolores (L. and she doesn’t have much joy, as she’s holding a missing boy’s garbage, an ungrateful wife (Kelly Murtau)) and a grandson (Joshua Caleb Johnson) who are involved in the crime. Moving forward.
At least these half-dozen geysers undoubtedly reign supreme in local bingo halls. Thus it’s a rude push when it is seen that Mario – who was already visible all day in his absence – apparently sold the place to the “new management”. Tempted by the public flyers, the public files were renamed that evening “Mr. The Big $ Bingo “Emporium has been a fantastic change. And Mr. B himself (Richard Break) is a sharp-fitting, shark-mucky MC who promises a detrimental cash reward.
Alas, his generosity is more than a siren call, hypnotically leading the inhabitants to their destruction. The winners soon end up in the fantasy of material gain, green go, and deadly self-harm. These scenes are not very scary, not even explanatory. But they are really busy with fish-eye lensing, lurid lighting scheme and editing that Guerrero overindulges whenever something bad happens.
Just that “something,” whatever? Who is Mr. Big? He is not given any backstory or myth, and seems to be punishing people for the greed that he has artificially instilled in them. Moreover, why shouldn’t people enjoy the idea of prize money along with this bare-scrap? Echoes of the classic Stephen King Buddy (especially the “essentials”) have been nowhere to be seen since Satan’s temptation since Big’s arrival. But despite his voiceover confession that “we feed [on] The despairing soul, “He finally proves to be quite weak like any kind of demonic force – in fact, he gets his ass crushed by a bunch of senior citizens.
Guerrero and frequent collaborator Shane Mackenzie brought in Perry Blackshire (“Siren” and “They Look Like People”) to help “shape the story,” according to a press note. Yet there is still not enough story here, just a foundation that is not developed just by being portrayed in a broad, effortless fashion. Nor does it end with irrational inspirational conversations telling us that, as always, “it’s family.” Well, there’s nothing like a little irrational sincerity after a big deal of irrational green glope.
Actors play enough sports, although their scenes are often very narrow. Usually the impressive barrage rises so high from the start, its performance goes nowhere. Although we want to root for Lupita, he is somewhat unbelievably unbearable.
“Bingo Hell” is lively, though there is a tendency to wear thin fast: laurel-colored funhouse compositions, a cash register ka-ching! Repetitive word punctuation, campy musical soundtrack choice, adult vulgar speaking, etc. But it would have been a good bet if at least as much effort had been put into a screenplay, the idea of which is malnourished in both comics and macabre.