April 23, 2024

Disco Inferno 2023 Movie Review

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Disco Inferno 2023 Movie Review

A woman we’ll soon learn is Sister Lynn (Helene Udy) weeps in a Catholic confessional. She gets increasingly deranged as she weeps and wails about how she always wanted to have a child of her own but couldn’t – and now she has one, stolen from a woman she killed. Then we realize blood is all over her hands. Moments later, the priest walks into the room and there’s Lynn, dangling at the end of a noose. It’s 1955.

Now it’s 1973. The church is no longer a church – it’s a disco nightclub dubbed Inferno. Mel (Bringas) and her boyfriend Brandon (Stephen Ruffin) rehearse for the club’s grand-opening dance contest. There’s eyeshadow up to here and lapels out to there. They’re pretty good together, even though they’re nursing some nerves. Mel suddenly dashes to the bathroom to barf, and you know what that means, because in movies, female characters don’t barf for any reason unless they’re totes preggers. She isn’t 100 percent sure yet, but she knows, like a mother knows things like this.

Mel leaves the bathroom and walks into the club and then BAM. With a rapid cut the disco is gone and the church is back and Mel’s eyes are all black. She seems overtaken by something. Possessed, maybe. She walks into a hall and there’s the confessional. And Sister Lynn is in there, with upside-down crosses reflecting in her eyes. Very cool, yes – unless you’re Mel.

Disco Inferno feels like a sizzle reel or teaser for a full-length feature: Compelling concept, characters in transition, a setting and location rich with potential. And that’s precisely why this 18-minuter is frustrating – just as it establishes its core ideas and plot, and hits a groove, it ends. Castellanos has an eye for disturbing imagery – the eyeballs, gotta love the creepy eyeballs – and we want to see more. Bringas and Ruffin show enough affectionate chemistry to carry these characters through 90 minutes, and we want to spend more time with them. The subtext stirs up ideas about faith and sin and motherly anxiety, but leaves us hanging; it’s too thin to stir up any serious scares. There’s a fine line between being suggestive and sketchy, and this film lands in the latter camp.

Disco Inferno 2023 Movie Review