Bingo Hell (2021) Review
|Synopsis: In the Barrio of Oak Springs live a strong and stubborn group of elderly friends who refuse to be gentrified. But little did they know, their beloved bingo hall is about to be sold to a much more powerful force than money itself.|
Bingo Hell is a rare horror movie starring an older cast, and making no excuses for it. The actors are allowed to have rounded characters, not stereotypes, and even kick some ass. Though Bingo Hell itself doesn’t have the depth it needs, the polish and sassiness of it manages to make for an offbeat and entertaining option for movie night.
When a glitzy new bingo parlor moves into Oak Springs, town matriarch Lupita (Adriana Barraza) suspects the worst. She tries to rally her compatriots (L. Scott Caldwell, Clayton Landey, Bertila Damas, Grover Coulson) to fight back, but they are drawn in to the glamour, neon, and promise of an easier life.
Adriana Barraza and L. Scott Caldwell as Lupita and Dolores are deeply engaging, and I found myself wishing more than once that I could have a buddy cop movie starring the two of them investigating the paranormal. Sadly, their paths diverge for a lot of the movie as interpersonal drama takes of their band of compatriots. Instead, Lupita goes it alone in true loose cannon style – a very badass, dark lipsticked, nightsticked style.
Having lived in a town that, like Oak Springs, has seen some hardships, it’s easy to empathize with the despair and bitter hopelessness of the inhabitants. Bingo Hell includes some incredibly depressing death scenes! Like Bubba Ho-Tep (another movie mostly starring the older crowd), early deaths are attributed to the status quo rather than anything being wrong. There isn’t much of a twist to Bingo Hell – we’re clued into the bad guy (Richard Brake) and his methods fairly early on – but it still yields some fun scenes and a deeply satisfying climax.
I’d watch Bingo Hell again if I found it while flipping through channels. It didn’t hit all the marks it tried for, but I enjoyed the watch and kind of want to be Lupita when I grow up.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B-