Friday, January 28, 2022

The Scary of Sixty-First


The Scary of Sixty-First
Dasha Nekrasova

Much like The Pizzagate Massacre (2020), The Scary of Sixty-First uses recent news and the cycle of conspiracy that has engulfed large portions of the planet to spin a tale of human frailty and the darkest parts of the human psyche. Like Pizzagate Massacre, The Scary of Sixty-First wears the veneer of an exploitation film but underneath it is both a character study and an art film. How successful it is at either of those things depends on your tolerance for unlikable characters and unsolvable mysteries. So, you know, it’s kind of like real life.


"I heard it was built by some guy named Ivo Shandor."

The film concerns itself with two women, Noelle (Madeline Quinn) and Addie (Betsey Brown), who move into an apartment reportedly once owned by the infamous and mysteriously dead, Jeffrey Epstein. A woman, (Dasha Nekrasova), shows up at the front door telling the pair about their apartment’s history and drawing them into her own private obsession. Epstein, connected to lots of rich and powerful people and an alleged child sex trafficker, haunts this film. His very existence is the horrifying black hole that our characters find themselves tumbling into shortly after settling into their new home. 

There isn’t much in the way of plot in The Scary of Sixty-First, this is a film that exists primarily through tone and moments of shock. There is a gloominess that immediately makes itself known but is often tempered with a little black humor.  The film does deal with the horror of child sex trafficking in its own strange way, it never pulls back from the absolute disturbing nature of what happened but it mixes it with characters’ lives in a way comes across more like a possession or haunting. I can’t say that The Scary of Sixty-First is tasteful in its handling of abuse, but it absolutely condemns it.


"Why does this rug smell like Fritos?"

I have seen some criticism of the acting in the movie, but personally I feel that these unusual performances are entirely in keeping with the off-kilter atmosphere of the film. Our leads are under psychic assault almost from the first frame and are drawn into extreme behavior. In some ways it feels like the performances of a David Lynch film, especially in the peculiar, stilted way that characters speak. It is a stylistic choice rather than a lack of skill on the part of the film makers.


The Scary of Sixty-First and The Pizzagate Massacre form an interesting double feature of recent traumatic elements of the news cycle as seen through the intersection of exploitation and art films. There is a sheen of pitch-black humor in the face of human darkness but as you burrow down towards whatever lies at that center of our hearts it becomes tragic and unknowable. It’s not an easy watch but it is a compelling one and in that respect The Scary of Sixty-First is successful.

No comments:

Post a Comment