'Velvet Buzzsaw' Trailer: Jake Gyllenhaal Reteams With 'Nightcrawler' Director Dan Gilroy For A Literal Arthouse Horror

Five years ago we saw how truly weird and dark Jake Gyllenhaal could get when he teamed up with writer-director Dan Gilroy for the twisted 2014 thriller Nightcrawler, which gave a thought-provoking condemnation of the ambulance-chasing tabloid industry.

Now, Gyllenhaal, Gilroy, and Nightcrawler co-star Rene Russo reunite for what looks to be a darkly satirical indictment of yet another niche field: the contemporary art world. Velvet Buzzsaw is a horror-thriller starring Gyllenhaal as a pretentious art critic who soon becomes targeted by killer art pieces. Yes, you read that right. See the first Velvet Buzzsaw trailer below.

Velvet Buzzsaw Trailer

"Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining." To critique this trailer wouldn't do justice to how truly bizarre and gonzo it is — nothing less from the team behind the completely unnerving Nightcrawler. Gilroy's new horror-thriller film centers around an art gallery that unearths a series of paintings by an unknown artist that, by some supernatural force, start to come to life and kill people. While the film is an ensemble cast rounded out by Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, Billy Magnussen, and John Malkovich, Gyllenhaal is the clear star, giving what looks to be another dedicated performance as a pretentious art critic who soon realizes there is something very wrong with the paintings.

Gilroy described Velvet Buzzsaw as "a satirical thriller set in the big-money art world of L.A." to Vanity Fair. The mind-bending film pushes his opinion that the art world has become too money-obsessed — something that becomes a pivotal plot point in Velvet Buzzsaw, as the art targets greedy art collectors. It reminds me of the surreal Swedish 2017 drama The Square, except with killer art.

"Contemporary art really began as a movement to provoke and challenge," said Gilroy. "And it now has been completely co-opted by big money and business. And it's a world that's off its axis. It's a world that's in conflict with itself which, for me, is the perfect setting for a film—a world that has that much inherent dramatic potential."

Here is the official synopsis for Velvet Buzzsaw:

In the cutthroat world of fine-art trading and representation, up-and-coming agent Josephina (Zawe Ashton) stumbles across a secret weapon: hundreds of dazzling paintings left behind after an elderly tenant in her building dies. Ignoring the instructions the clandestine artist left to destroy his work, she promptly starts circulating the paintings, which soon attract the attention of the heavy hitters around her—including her boss Rhodora (Rene Russo), art critic (and Josephina's sometime lover) Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal), and competing collectors, managers, and curators like Bryson (Billy Magnussen) and Gretchen (Toni Collette). Yet as the deceased artist's portraits gain posthumous acclaim, they also awaken something imperceptible and sinister that threatens to punish those who have profited from his work.

Velvet Buzzsaw makes its world premiere at Sundance before it hits Netflix on February 1, 2019.