Film Review: Bingo Hell (2021)

Also known as: Bingo (working title), Welcome to the Blumhouse: Bingo (alternative title)
Release Date: September 24th, 2021 (Fantastic Fest)
Directed by: Gigi Saul Guerrero
Written by: Gigi Saul Guerrero, Shane McKenzie, Perry Blackshear
Music by: Chase Horseman
Cast: Adriana Barraza, L. Scott Caldwell, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Richard Brake

Amazon Studios, 85 Minutes

Review:

This popped up on the homepage when I fired up my Amazon Firestick. It was free with Prime Video and I thought that a horror film about bingo-holics fighting some sort of monster in their bingo hall might be fairly entertaining for 85 minutes.

Sadly, this wasn’t fun or all that entertaining. It did seem to have some heart in it and it clearly had a message it wanted to deliver but it missed its mark, even though it was a bit heavy handed with it.

Granted, I did like this poking fun at the hipster brand of gentrification that has taken over many neighborhoods surrounding bigger cities. But that seemed to get lost once the biggest threat to the neighborhood became a bingo-obsessed demon.

Anyway, the acting isn’t bad, per se, but it also isn’t great. It’s kind of a mixed bag from actor-to-actor but most of the key characters do an alright job. Richard Brake really stands out, as the villain, but he’s pretty solid in those sort of roles, anyway.

The main actress, Adriana Barraza, reminds me of every older Mexican and Cuban lady I’ve met growing up in southern Florida. So there is a personal, emotional connection I have to her. I get her motivations and how she wants to keep the community the same and sees all her neighbors as her family. However, by the end, her rantings and ravings get tiresome and while I like seeing her go ape shit and blasting stuff with a shotgun, by that point, I was mentally checked out and exhausted by the character and this film, which isn’t even 90 minutes.

Everything in this feels cheap and it really didn’t need to. It just looks like it was filmed on phones with homemade steady-cams. Additionally, the special effects were pretty amateurish and they added effects where they weren’t necessary like to the neon sign outside of the demonic bingo hall.

I thought that the plot was weak and it didn’t really maximize what it could have with the ideas it wanted to explore. This was really just a cookie cutter demon story thrown into a bingo hall and tied to bingo balls and demonically possessed cash.

Some things in the movie were also irritating, like when the kid opens up one of those money blowing vacuum vaults, puts a Zippo inside of it, which doesn’t immediately blow out, and then all the money magically turns into an inferno. I don’t know, maybe just pull the plug on the machine and then drop a lighter in.

While I initially liked some of the characters in this, it became a tough film to get through, even at just 85 minutes.

Rating: 3/10