Bingo Hell on Amazon Prime, Which Shows You Why You Don’t Want to Get Between This Old Lady and Her Bingo Balls

BIngo Hell is among the many pair of Welcome to the Blumhouse horror motion pictures Amazon Prime debuts this week — and is it me, or is these things Blumhouse may’ve earmarked for its Hulu anthology sequence Into the Darkish? (Which has but to be renewed for a 3rd season; I form of miss how hit-or-miss it was.) I convey this up as a result of BIngo Hell is helmed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, who helmed that sequence’ strongest characteristic, Culture Shock; her newest is a horror-comedy about growing older folks coping with their impending obsolescence within the face of their city being gentrified. All they’ve is their bingo corridor, and when it’s taken over by sinister forces, then hell should be paid.


The Gist: Lupita (Adriana Barraza) snuffs her cigar on a profitable written provide from builders who need to purchase her home. Her city of Oak Springs goes to hell because of these vultures, who’re turning the place right into a string of vape outlets, microbreweries and fancy coffeehouses. Traversing a crosswalk, she bodychecks a younger lady’s half-caff frappa-whatever proper out of her grip. “F—ing hipsters,” she snarls. THIS IS WAR.

At the very least Lupita nonetheless has the bingo corridor — or so she thinks. Earlier than we met her we met Mario (David Jensen), who had simply cashed in on the corridor and went residence to rejoice and ended up dying beneath unusual, mysterious, ooey-gooey-gross circumstances. The physique has but to be discovered when Lupita takes the stage for what she doesn’t but understand is the final time, calling off bingo numbers for a pair dozen beloved locals. She loves this shit, a long-held social custom for her and her fellow growing older associates: shut compadre Dolores (L. Scott Caldwell), hairdresser Yolanda (Bertila Damas), mechanic Clarence (Grover Coulson) and handyman Morris (Clayton Landey). You’ll be aware, maybe, that Morris is the one one within the group who will not be of coloration.

Ought to we additionally be aware that Lupita finds on the road a $100 invoice coated with slime? {That a} massive lengthy classic automobile that appears like a vampire’s experience appears to be rolling round city? Possibly. The subsequent day, the fences, phone poles, partitions, the entire rattling city is plastered with flyers for Mr. Large’s Bingo. They promise large prizes. Lupita summons her associates to affix her in mean-mugging the brand new institution, which has modified considerably in a single day. It seems like a neon-hell on line casino: digital screens, a zillion lights, all method of a/v noise air pollution. Fronting the din is Mr. Large (Richard Brake), whose sinister tones and Joker smile with enamel out to right here are simpler to disregard when he’s handing out $10k bingo bonanzas. This is perhaps the proper time to say that the intractable Lupita has a retractable baton, and he or she is aware of learn how to use it.

Photograph: ©Amazon/Courtesy Everett Assortment

What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: Bingo Hell would slot in properly with Into the Darkish episodes that present nice potential of their premises, however by no means convey them to fruition: A Nasty Piece of Work, I’m Just F—ing With You, Tentacles. It additionally radiates some VFW vibes in its depiction of Boomer old-timers in opposition to millennial hipsters.

Efficiency Value Watching: Barraza is enjoyable to observe: Simmering with resentment and pent-up rage, however nonetheless sustaining our sympathy.

Memorable Dialogue: Lupita and the gang go to take a look at the brand new bingo factor, assuming the particular person working it’s white:

Morris: Hey hey hey — we don’t know he’s white.

Lupita, Clarence, Yolanda and Dolores: HE’S WHITE.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None.

Our Take: Bingo Hell has lots going for it — wonderful solid chemistry, a fiery lead in Barraza, a constant tone and Guerrero’s inventive visible sense. However the writing is flimsy, and all its belongings by no means appear to level in the identical route, just like the movie is a truck that simply can’t summon sufficient traction to get out of a rut. Guerrero establishes the endeavor as a cartoonish comedy underscored with a way of unease and seasoned with some efficient grossout gore — blood splatters, peeled flesh, neon snotwads, and so forth. But it suffers from pacing points, with a second act that lingers needlessly on a garish set piece that establishes Mr. Large as a ghoulish shyster who must be larger than life, however finally looks like an overstated metaphor.

Lupita as soon as led her associates in a struggle for his or her city — some tossed-off stuff about gangs and medicines, revealed in an underdeveloped subplot involving an addict-turned-counselor and Dolores’ wayward teen grandson — which one assumes wasn’t out-and-out warfare, whatever the spectacular means she handles that baton. Now her friends query why they adopted her lead and ended up kowtowing to landlords and having little or no to name their very own; why shouldn’t they promote out to the builders, represented by the grinning Mr. Large and his Faustian video games? Beware the lure of simple cash, Bingo Hell asserts, via its muddle of B-movie thrills and gummy satire. Inform me one thing I don’t know, sherlock.

Our Name: SKIP IT. Bingo Hell has just a few impressed moments, however by no means comes collectively. It additionally commits a cardinal sin in having its feisty lead declare “No extra video games!” like Nic Cage in a schlocker-shocker, then failing to ship a memorable payoff.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic based mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at or observe him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Bingo Hell on Amazon Prime | Stream It or Skip It?


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