'Velvet Buzzsaw' Spoilers, Ending Explained: Ranking the 5 Gruesome Deaths
Velvet Buzzsaw isn’t your average horror movie. The new Netflix original offers a sharp critique of the art world, literally tearing into the critics and collectors who care more about money and power than the art itself. But this is still a horror movie, and it’s a damn good one, filled with jump scares and violent, supernatural murder.
The basic premise of Velvet Buzzsaw is simple enough. A struggling art dealer stumbles upon a treasure trove of paintings after her neighbor, Ventril Dease, dies. She defies his written will (which states that all his art should be destroyed) and instead unleashes them on the art world. It’s a huge success … until the art starts killing everyone involved.
There’s plenty to be said about the movie’s deeper meaning, and what director Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) might be saying about the cynicism of the art world and the entertainment industry in general, But forget all that, We’re here to talk about gross-out death scenes, and Velvet Buzzsaw’s got plenty of then. So here are the top five, ranked from least to most gruesome and terrifying.
Warning: Extensive spoilers for Velvet Buzzsaw ahead.
5. Jon Dondon Gets Strangled
Rival art dealer Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) is a less important character, and so he gets a less spectacular death. It is the first major kill scene though, and it’s still pretty cool.
After Dease’s art becomes famous, Dondon decides to investigate and quickly finds something rotten. He ends up in a spooky old room for some reason, and when the only light bulb flickers out he climbs up a ladder to fix it. That’s when a hand reaches out from the ceiling and chokes him to death by his own pretentious scarf.
4. Josephina Becomes Art
Josephina (Zawe Ashton) might be the least evil person in Velvet Buzzsaw (even if that’s not a very high bar), but she’s also the one who found and exploited Dease’s art to begin with. So Josephina gets the most fitting ending of all.
Standing in a room surrounded by paintings, we see the paint drip off all the canvasses and crawl up her skin. Josephina screams and the scene ends. Later, we see her face hidden in a piece of street art. Powerful, but not exactly gruesome.
3. Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Killed by a Robot
In Velvet Buzzsaw, Gyllenhaal plays Morf Vandewalt, a nasty art critic who becomes obsessed with Dease’s work. In the end, he’s killed by another piece of art that he gave a bad review: a haunting “homeless” robot that made a splash at an art show in the movie’s first scene. Later on, the robot returns to pin Morf against the wall and crushes his body.
It’s scary, freaky, and brings Gyllenhaal’s story full circle.
2. Killed By Her Own Tattoo
At the end of the movie, it looks like Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo) will get away without dying, even though she profited from Dease’s art more than anyone. Instead, her tattoo, a small buzzsaw inked on the back of her neck, suddenly comes to life, whirring into her spine as blood sprays everywhere.
1. Gretchen Loses an Arm
Toni Collette gives what’s arguably the best performance in Velvet Buzzsaw as Gretchen, a museum curator who jumps ship to work for a private collector. She then immediately turns around and extorts the museum where the used to work into putting on a show that benefits her new employer, all while yelling at everyone in sight.
Death comes brutally for Gretchen on the night before her big exhibition. During a final walkthrough she places her arm in a large metal orb that’s supposed to be some sort of interactive modern art display. It promptly chops her arm off, leaving Gretchen to die on the museum floor.
The best/worst part? The next morning, museum visitors assume she’s part of the show and walk right past her corpse. A bunch of kids on a school field trip even touch the blood and spread it all over the place. Gross.
Velvet Buzzsaw is streaming now on Netflix.