January 20, 2022

VIFF 2021 | 'The Scary of Sixty-First' Possesses Conspiracy Horror

"We're already in hell."
Dasha Nekrasova | The Scary of Sixty-First | VIFF 2021
Vancouver International Film Festival
VIFF 2021—Belarusian-American Succession actress and "dirtbag leftist" Red Scare podcast co-host Dasha Nekrasova, who also co-stars as "The Girl", makes her feature directing debut in the lo-fi microbudget supernatural horror film, The Scary of Sixty-First. Set around the premise of roommates renting a spacious Upper Eastside Manhattan apartment for less than market value because it was once owned by notorious pedophilic sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, the film's hyper-topical premise exploits genre thrills by falling down a conspiracy theorist rabbit hole.

Roommates Addie (Betsey Brown) and Noelle (co-writer Madeline Quinn) soon encounter strange occurrences and possessions happening in their posh new but cursed apartment. Nothing is out of bounds as Nekrasova and Quinn's giallo-tinged script goes for some fairly shocking gonzo visuals as Addie becomes possessed by the spirit of one of Epstein's underage victims who enacts strange occultist rituals and disturbing sexual behaviour.

Scary is fearless in its blatant exploitation of topical real-life criminal conspirators perpetrated by the elite class and power structures. Its riotous subject matter revels in being as offensively shocking as possible. Nonetheless, the film's intriguing commentary on our current generation of internet sleuths makes for some amusing ridicule of neoliberal pseudo-intellectual crowds.

Thanks to cinematographer Hunter Zimny's grainy retro 16mm look, there's a strong 1970s paranoid thriller meets psychosexual horror vibe to the provocative genre film while still evoking a contemporary sense of seediness not unlike Eyes Wide Shut. The Scary of Sixty-First is a well-executed bad idea of a horror premise that delights in offending and exploiting actual criminal conspiracies of sexual predators.

The Scary of Sixty-First screened at the 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Altered States series and at the Rio Theatre. It's also available to stream through video on demand.


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