The worlds of Jeffrey Epstein, “Eyes Wide Shut,” and QAnon conspiracy theories collide to nightmarish results in “Red Scare” podcast host Dasha Nekrasova’s fiery feature debut “The Scary of Sixty-First.” Given the film’s Upper East Side New York City setting, there’s a posh Roman Polanski vibe to the eerie proceedings as two young women (Madeline Quinn, who co-wrote the movie, and Betsey Brown) move into an apartment that once served as a hub for Epstein’s sex trafficking ring — and maybe a portal to hell?
If that’s not enough to titillate you, here’s the official synopsis:
While out apartment hunting, college pals Noelle and Addie stumble upon the deal of a lifetime: a posh duplex on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But soon after moving in, a more sinister picture of the apartment emerges when a mysterious woman arrives and claims the property used to belong to the infamous and recently deceased Jeffrey Epstein.
With this news, Noelle becomes obsessed with the visitor — to the point of infatuation. As the pair plunge deeper into the conspiracies of the Epstein case, Addie falls into her own bizarre state: a pseudo-possession complete with inexplicable fits of age-regressed sexual mania. As they peel back on these strange occurrences, the truth reveals itself to be more twisted than they could have ever imagined.
“The Scary of Sixty-First” premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival to strong reviews, including from IndieWire: “Much will be made about the connection of ‘The Scary of Sixty-First’ to ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ But the movie that more closely touches its urbane blend of erotics, affable female friendship, and a search for answers in a world with so many puzzling questions is really ‘Celine and Julie Go Boating,’ Jacques Rivette’s quasi two-hander about a pair of young French women caught up in the need to narrativize the discordant strands of their lives. ‘Go Boating’ in French is an expression that means something akin to “being taken for a ride.” And in ‘The Scary of Sixty-First,’ Nekrasova takes us on one that’s thrilling and unforgettable. Where will she take us next?
Writer, director, and actress Nekrasova (who also stars in the film) made her acting debut in “Wobble Palace,” directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko in 2018, which she also co-wrote. This year, she also has a recurring role on Season 3 of HBO’s “Succession.” “Scary” features an original score by composer Eli Keszler, who previously contributed to Daniel Lopatin’s score for the Safdie Brothers’ “Uncut Gems.”
“The Scary of Sixty-First” premieres theatrically December 17 in New York at the Quad Cinema — in 35mm! — in New York via distributor Utopia. The film will then be available on digital platforms on December 24, as the film continues to roll out at arthouses in 35mm. “Scary” is also playing New York’s NewFest virtually and in-person this October.
Check out the film’s first trailer, available exclusively on IndieWire, below.