The opening sequence sets up the lay of this land. As the camera and Morf navigate Miami's Art Basel, it introduces the audience to a wily, glamorous, nasty collection of characters. At the center is Russo's Rhodora Haze, who ruthlessly runs the influential Haze Gallery and was once part of a punk art collective knowns as, yes, Velvet Buzzsaw. One of her minions is Josephina (Fresh Meat's Zawe Ashton), recently broken up with her boyfriend and in need of a big win. In Miami, she and Morf start an affair, over puffs of the hash oil, that leads to Morf breaking up with his boyfriend. They return to Los Angeles -- and that's where things start getting creepy.
Josephina finds her neighbor, an old man named Ventril Dease, dead in the hallway of her building, but more crucially she discovers the work he left behind. His paintings, which he wanted destroyed, are eerie creations with shades of Goya, primal in their depictions of tortured souls. Josephina sees dollar signs and brings them to Rhodora, who seizes on them as the next sensation. But as Dease starts to become a posthumous phenomenon, weird shit starts to happen. Notably the people in Morf and Rhodora's orbit start to get picked off one by one and increasingly ridiculous ways. I'm reluctant to describe these deaths in detail -- even though the trailer spoiled some of them -- but they are most fun when they are most gruesome. Toni Collette's Gretchen -- a museum curator turned nasty advisor to a wealthy client who is doling out dollars for Dease -- is done in by a sculptural installment called Sphere. The piece is supposed to create a sensation dependent on whoever approaches it and sticks his or her hand inside. When Gretchen goes in for a feel, well, watch the trailer.
As the bodies pile up, Morf begins to unravel, giving us another prime Gyllenhaal mode: unhinged. Meanwhile, Rhodora tries as hard as she can to hang onto her new moneymaker. As one might expect, this goes well for no one.