One of the lesser-sung items among umpteen offbeat little ’70s movies was Larry Yust’s “Homebodies.” That 1974 black comedy on the cusp of horror was about a community of frail old retirees who turn out to be surprisingly vigorous — even homicidal — in defending their homes from the callous forces of market-driven “progress.” A similar premise is the starting point for “Bingo Hell,” which alongside “Black as Night” kicks off the second quartet of genre features premiering under the “Welcome to the Blumhouse” umbrella on Amazon Prime. This first full-length solo directorial project for Gigi Saul Guerrero exchanges the Cincinnati grit of “Homebodies” for the hotter palette of a Southern California desert town.Bingo Hell 2021 Full Movie Download
The comedy and horror elements get amped up as well — maybe too much so. In any case, what starts out looking like another caustic commentary on gentrification at the expense of the elderly soon takes a turn into half-baked Stephen King territory, as a requisite Mysterious Supernatural Stranger in Town proves the real menace here. He’s an ill-defined evil, however, stirring scant real suspense as Guerrero emphasizes a cartoonish tenor of satire whose precise point is also rather murky. The result is fun for a while. But with its few thematic and narrative ideas left underdeveloped, this “Hell” feels attenuated even at just 85 minutes.Oak Springs has clearly seen better days, with every other house up for sale and long-term businesses closing down. Holding things together in her loudmouthed way is Lupita (Adriana Barraza of “Babel”), a busybody who presides over the town as a whole, and in particular a social circle of no-longer-youthful peers: Hair stylist Yolanda (Bertila Damas), auto mechanic Clarence (Grover Coulson), handyman Morris (Clayton Landey) and recently widowed Mario (David Jensen). They’re all bored in this increasingly lonely burg, tempted by developers’ home-purchase offers. (A lone hipster cafe suggests that gentrification is indeed afoot.) The only one will a full plate is Lupita’s BFF Dolores (L. Scott Caldwell). And her lot is no joy, as she’s stuck housing an absent son’s trashy, ungrateful wife (Kelly Murtaugh) and a grandson (Joshua Caleb Johnson) who’s drifting towards delinquency.