The Scary of Sixty-First (2021)

Writer-Director-Actor Dasha Nekrasova's The Scary of Sixty-First is a ponderously retrospective homage that promises to combine all the giddy terror of classic paranoia thrillers with a modern sting, bringing viewers face-to-face (often very literally) with the shadowy world of "conspiracy" theorists, child-trafficking, human sacrifice and Jeffery Epstein's egg-shapped penis.

Needless to say it's a fascinating place for film to go, but the end result leaves a lot to be desired. Scary never goes beyond the level of pastiche, treading on the toes of John Carpenter and Stanley Kubrick while delivering very little that's original or particularly inspiring. If you keep your nose close to the ground there's a hint of tension to be found, but the tone of the film is so wildly meandering that it's very difficult to find yourself really engrossed in what's happening. The film is at its best when it blends fact and fiction, combining kitschy horror parody with scraps of reality, Youtube clips of Epstein island and newspaper clippings of Prince Andrew. Still, it misses the immersion of similarly conspiratorial films such as Under the Silver Lake, which wholeheartedly embraces the "tinfoil" mindset. In comparison Scary of Sixty-First's engagement with its most interesting aspects seems superficial, lip service and Wikipedia skimming, irreverent without being meaningful. It's appropriately hysterical, occasionally quite funny and the camerawork as well as the soundtrack is faithful to its inspirations, but in the end it just fails to rise above the level of pastiche.

I would recommend this one to the aficionados and anyone calls Eyes Wide Shut as a Christmas movie.

By Hayden Collis

December 4, 2021