Bingo Hell
review by Drusilla Blakey

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Ever since they burst onto the screen with the sleeper hit Paranormal Activity in 2009 and has since become a juggernaut in horror delivering films including Insidious, Sinister, The Purge and Halloween. In 2020 they teamed up with Amazon Studios for Welcome to the Blumhouse a collection of all-new, diversely-themed, brand-unified films that is taking the anthology concept and stepping it up to full length horror anthology films.
 

Now they are back for an all-new set of four films that once again look to deliver a series of unique, unsettling thrillers developed and produced with an eye towards original, diverse storytelling. The first two films are now available with the first being Bingo Hell starring Adriana Barraza, L. Scott Caldwell, Richard Brake and Joshua Johnson with director Gigi Saul Guerrero at the helm.

Bingo Hell follows a sinister figure threatens the residents of a low-income community and a feisty senior citizen tries to stop him in Bingo Hell. After 60-something neighborhood activist Lupita discovers that her beloved local bingo hall has been taken over by a mysterious businessman named Mr. Big, 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. 

 

To the casual viewer this will seem like a dumb movie about a grumpy old lady who hates that her neighborhood has changed. But I ask that you please take a moment to consider that this movie is actually a flash back message for us about how back in the day, neighbors actually knew one another, watched their children grow up together and became families. So

when you see how drugs and violence have wrecked your once happy community you become suspicious of anything 'new'.
 

Although the movie has some supernatural elements and we have some nice gory kills, on a deeper level it explores some basic truths. Will money bring happiness or is greed the ultimate pitfall?  What does family really mean? Is love enough to make someone change?  We see the community in this film deal with these issues but at the same time us as viewers are provided with these same introspective questions to ponder as we watch this story unfold. 

 

I enjoyed the look of the film as it clearly takes us through a visual journey through a gentrified neighborhood.  We see old run down areas and suddenly across the street we have shiny new coffee shops and hipsters hanging out.  You see the original neighbors fighting to keep things the way they were and they are costumed to look older, a little bit muted and sometimes they even fade into the background.  Meanwhile, you have younger people appear brighter and happier as if we ourselves as viewers are trying to be pulled into this new reality.

 

Once inside the new bingo hall, we are overwhelmed with bright lights and loud music as if trying to drown out reality, but we soon find out that it's also a distraction to keep us from seeing what is really going on.  I recommend checking this one out as Richard Brake is fun to watch in this over the top performance and Adriana Barraza is super feisty.

Decide for yourself and check out Bingo Hell streaming now on Amazon Prime as well as the other Welcome To The Blumhouse film Black As Night.