As I get older, I look forward to Halloween a little bit more each year. In my younger days, I enjoyed trick or treating. Then I gravitated toward the jump scares offered by haunted attractions, but having grown up in an actual hundred-year-old house that was very spooky on its own, I yearned for a little more.
These days, I’m all about the spooky season and it seems each television network offers something a little different. With movie theaters delaying their seasonal releases during the global pandemic, my interest in what the streamers can bring to the masses was piqued with Welcome to the Blumhouse last year. Now in its second season, the horror anthology series available via Amazon Prime Video takes you to Bingo Hell.
In a run-down neighborhood, a cigar-smoking, Spanish-speaking senior citizen who’s a little too nosey for her own good looks on in disgust as hipsters and gentrification in general slowly creeps into her life. Referred to as the “mean, old Mexican lady” by a kid, Lupita (played by Adriana Barraza) seems to be fighting a losing battle all by herself. But when she discovers something sinister always seems to happen after people win at the local bingo hall, she must rally the neighbors in order to survive.
You see, the devil’s in the details.
Lupita’s stubborn and she fights with her neighbors, but she usually means well. I saw a lot of my personality unfold on the small screen while watching her struggle. And much like this character, I thought the overall theme for the film felt like a cautionary tale: Beware what you wish for. Bingo Hell hit close to home for me.
While I don’t live in a barrio (or a neighborhood, for that matter), the community-inclusive theme was strong in this film and I probably would have loved to be Lupita’s neighbor. She’s overly protective of the neighborhood, as well as its residents. And that seems to be in short supply these days…
“We may be older, but we have plenty of life to live…”
My biggest complaint concerns the mysterious businessman named Mr. Big (Richard Brake). His character really has no backstory and his bingo establishment literally pops up overnight. What seems to be a magical suitcase full of cash turns out to be something else, entirely… although details are never truly given.
While many stories are more effective when they don’t break down every single plot point to the audience, but as Brake steals every scene he’s in with his over-the-top performance, I kinda wanted to know what sort of diabolical presence this man symbolized in order to figure out how to defeat him. His character was a tad rushed; his important details felt ignored by the screenwriters.
I enjoyed watching this film more than the previous four from last year and I look forward to watching more from my beloved house of horrors. Be on the lookout for Black as Night, Madres and The Manor to be released this month on the streaming service in a continuation of this horror series.