“The Scary of Sixty-First” is a lurid, bloody and somewhat misguided exploration of the crimes and mysterious death of well-connected human trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in horror film form.
But it’s hard to effectively comment on and condemn a notorious sex criminal with a movie this invested in shock and titillation.
Put a pair of gorgeous, snarky 20somethings as new renters in one of Epstein’s “pedophile sex slave” apartments, one not even properly cleaned out after his hasty exit. Introduce a mysterious, unnamed and equally sexy “investigator” to describe the crimes there and have or two of the young women possessed by whatever evil resided there.
Yes, that’s a promising premise. But its so mishandled as to be icky and repellent, as if the last people to exploit those “handled” by Epstein and the likes of Prince Andrew are the folks who made and starred in their sordid little movie.
Two of the stars of “Scary” — Madeline Quinn and Dasha Nekrasova — co-wrote it, and Nekrasova, who plays the mysterious “investigator,” directed it, mixing simulated news coverage of Epstein and his “pedo island” in with a mad jumble of conspiracy theories, explicit sex, gruesome murder and mystery.
Noelle and Addie (Quinn and Betsey Brown) are former college friends who somehow are able to afford to rent a tony townhouse on 61st St. Addie’s an aspiring actress, and Noelle? Either her invisible means of support is left out, or I missed it.
They puzzle over the “strange” layout of the place, bedrooms that can only be entered or exited through another bedroom, the fact that it’s “kinda dirty” and a lot of furniture was left behind, and rent it anyway.
Their saucy banter suggests a little “drunken” intimacy back in college, something they’ve outgrown…at 25. But their first night there brings nightmares and bickering.
Then this stranger (Nekrasova) barges in and Noelle becomes obsessed with her investigations into what happened — “Maybe he kept his sex slaves here!” — and what happened to Epstein in Trump/Barr administration custody.
As they do, poor Addie is sliding into a dark place, one that animates her sex life with boyfriend Greg (Mark H. Rapaport) to a kinky degree and pushes the other two further down the rabbit hole, from visiting the place where Epstein died to various crystal and witchcraft (apothecary) shops as they stagger towards their own sexual possession.
The story’s a hash of widespread (and widely accepted) conspiracies and excuses to show a little skin and a lot of coitus and a downward spiral into depravity and disgusting decay.
There’s the germ of something promising here, and the performances and dialogue are up to par. But the whole is kind of a mess that becomes the very thing it’s meant to be satirizing.
Rating: unrated, graphic violence, explicit sex, nudity, profanity
Cast: Madeline Quinn, Betsey Brown, Mark H. Rapaport and Dasha Nekrasova
Credits: Directed by Dasha Nekrasova, scripted by Dasha Nekrasova and Madeline Quinn. A Utopia/Shudder release.
Running time: 1:21