“Bingo Hell” Review + Interviews (interviews with Richard Brake, L. Scott Caldwell, Adriana Barraza, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Shane McKenzie)

Featured image: Adriana Barraza as Lupita in Bingo Hell. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

Directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero. Written by Shane McKenzie, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Perry Blackshear. Starring Adriana Barraza, Richard Brake, L. Scott Caldwell. Released October 1, 2021. Runtime 1h 25 min.

When a film seems to have a slime budget that rivals the blood budget for most films, you know you’re in for a fun time with Bingo Hell. The film is about a group of elderly friends – at the core of which is Lupita (Adriana Barraza) and Dolores (L. Scott Caldwell) – who refuse to be gentrified.

Lupita is the one who still fights for this community, trying to keep it together as a family. Threatening this is a force more powerful than money itself: The charming and villainous showman, Mr. Big (Richard Brake).

On top of having some fun scares and a good premise, Bingo Hell also sports some strong performances, especially from Barraza and Brake as the two pillars of good and evil, respectively.

Barazza is great as Lupita, believably fighting for her community and also being the glue that holds everything together. She seems like the type of person where you might be scared to tell her about something you did wrong, but after you tell her, you’ll wonder why you hesitated in the first place. It’s a very believable quality Barraza brings to the character that might remind you of your own grandparents, because of her openness.

Clayton Landey, Bertila Damas, Adriana Barraza, L. Scott Caldwell and Grover Coulson in Bingo Hell. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

That’s an interesting thing about this film, with their ages: The standard seems to be seeing actresses and actors over 60 years of age starring in easy watching comedies like Quartet, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or recently Poms. You wouldn’t expect seeing them in a horror film like this, as a horror lead in the film. It’s refreshing, and it looks like they’re having a lot of fun doing it.

For the villains side, the introduction to Mr. Big really tells you all you need to know about the film; that the filmmakers are trying to create a memorable showman and villain, highlighted by a very fun performance.

On top of the great horror, it has interesting layers. This is especially with how it values money, as we see the townsfolk of Oak Spring going in droves to the new bingo hall in promise of cold hard cash that could get them out of this place. That’s why Lupita is fighting so hard to keep the community together; so her family and neighbours don’t leave.

It’s lovely that the film is so much about family and community. That shines through in that aspect of the film, as well as through these well-written characters who all have a lot of heart. It gives a horror film like this that extra layer, that extra kick, that makes it stand out.

Bingo Hell is part of the four-part Welcome to Blumhouse lineup and is now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

The interviews

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to take part in some press days for Welcome to Blumhouse, as I had five great conversations for Bingo Hell alone, and you can find those conversations directly below, and you can also stream Bingo Hell on Amazon Prime.

Here are the two on-camera conversations I had with some of the cast, with one of my interviews with Richard Brake, who plays the villainous Mr. Big, here, where we talk about all things from using his smile, to his favourite character introductions:

Then I was also able to speak with L. Scott Caldwell on-camera about her role as Dolores in the film, where she talks about incorporating aspects of her own cultural experience into her character, and every character, and a lot of other things:

For my last interview with a cast member, I spoke with Adriana Barraza who plays Lupita in the film, as we talk about playing the character, kicking ass in a horror film, and what she looks for in a horror film to sign onto one:

I also spoke with the film’s director and co-writer Gigi Saul Guerrero, where we spoke about some of her visual style, using the slime in the film, breaking the fourth wall, and set design:

Finally, I spoke with the film’s other co-writer Shane McKenzie and talked to him about the original inspirations, bingo halls, Mr. Big the showman, Uh-Oh and more in between:

Bingo Hell is part of the four-part Welcome to Blumhouse lineup and is now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

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