Monday, February 16, 2009

Horror Movie Review: The Devil's Chair

The Devil's Chair

Starring: Andrew Howard, David Gant, Louise Griffiths, Elize DuToit, and Matt Berry

Directed by: Adam Mason

Written by: Simon Boyes and Adam Mason

Production Companies: Renegade Worldwide and Brand Mason

Release Date: September 12, 2007

There's nothing better than sitting down with a horror movie having little to no expectation and discovering a film you thoroughly enjoy. Sitting down with The Devil's ChairSammy gets good chair., I had no expectation. I couldn't remember where I came across the title which prompted its inclusion in my Netflix queue. Doing research for my Preview post about this review, I didn't come across anything spectacular. I sat down figuring I was about to watch a shoot-by-numbers B-Movie horror. I was wrong...

Nick, played by Andrew Howard, and Sammy are a morally questionable couple who wander into the run-down remains of the Blackwater Asylum. There, high on acid, they discover a bizarre chair which becomes the seat of some sexual adventure...until...

Nick isWillard, annoyed he's being interrupted during his Porn Time. found later with Sammy's blood on him and the girl nowhere to be found. Despite claims that the chair killed her, Nick is determined to be guilty of her murder and insane. Nick is kept in an institution until Dr. Willard decides to use him as a case study to see what happens if he returns to the scene of the crime. Willard is joined by young assitants Melissa, Brett, and Rachel.

Each character views Nick differently. Dr. Willard, played by David Gant, sees Nick as a subject and it seems clear he's less interested in his recovery than he is with his book. Melissa, played by Louise Griffiths, is frightened of Nick, but she also seems slightly turned on by the taboo of a mental patient, but then she also clearly flirts with Brett and Dr. Willard at different points in the movie. Brett,Nick confronts his Chairophobia. played by Matt Berry, is the obnoxious jokster unable to take anything seriously and sees Nick as a threat, though not one to be...taken seriously. That leaves Rachel, played by Elize DuToit, who is the only one who wants to help Nick.

As the story progresses, we learn the history of the Blackwater Asylum, stereotypical of abandoned asylums throughout movie history, and in an attempt to show Nick that the events about the chair that he remembers are false, Rachel sits in the Devil's Chair. Soon, Rachel has disappeared into another demoniacal diminsion. And sRachel tells us, This Devil Chair can be yours...if the Price is Right!oon, by choice, force, or mistake, everyone has sat in the chair and find themselves running for their lives from a tentacled, hooded beast.

Admittedly, much of the first half of the movie is fairly standard fare, but Mason does a great job with atmosphere and the character of nick West, afraid of his insanity and judgemental of everyone makes for an interesting protagonist. But then Nick breaks the third-wall, talks to us the audience, and everything turns really interesting as we find out what's really going on.
Melissa likes the size of Nick's chair...Ok, that innuendo is off...
Nick speaks of the B-Movie horror films, saying, "As you can see it all got a bit silly at this point. Girl with her puppies out, demon, old banana in pajamas. Is this what I promised you? Are we prick teasing you enough? Are you full up? Is this what you came here to see, all my brothers? Look at this poorly written, badly acted bullshit! Is there any truth in this B-Movie banality? No! No, there is no truth, my friends. Believe no one. Believe nothing. I tell you what party people, you freaks and geeks, you bloodthirsty morons, fuck you! Bring on the red parade. So are there any pulses in the house? You deadbeat, midnight freak,geek-witted torture-porn gore whores! I know what you're looking for, so have it! Take it! Fare thee well and fuck you very much! Do you ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"
Rachel and her puppies
There are some problems with the big reveal leaving some questions and some things a little confusing, but entertaining nonetheless. The slightly light-hearted, partially whimsical end is just the silly icing onto of this fabulous B-Movie horror cake. I don't agree with Nick comments about "B-Movie banality" or "feeling...cheated," well, except the aforementioned "puppies" of Rachel's weren't really out. The one element missing is the B-Movie nudity. But still worth a rent.

Blackwater Asylum...Great Vacation Spot!
Related Trailers

Adam Mason reunited with Simon Boyes and called back Andrew Howard for the upcoming release Blood River.

Andrew Howard previously starred in the very good submarine horror film, Below. The video and audio are little off. I couldn't find a better video.

David Gant also appeared in Romasanta, aka Werewolf Hunter - Legend of Romasanta. The film won 3rd place for Best International Film at the Fant-Asia Film Festival. Gant will also appear in the 2009 German release Beyond Remedy. An international group of medical students takes part in a seminar on fear - with deadly results. Trailer available here.

The Devil's Chair was Louise Griffiths first film, but she's got three in the works already including the Revenant. Here's a scene from the upcoming release.

Matt Berry also stars in Moon, currently making the indy circuit and coming to the US in June for limited release.

Pollyanna Rose, who appears briefly as Nick's girlfriend Sammy, also appeared briefly in Turistas.

John Mason's first film, co-directing with Jonty Acton, is 13th Sign.

Simon Boyes's first writing credit was The Devil's Chair, but he and Mason followed it with Broken, which Boyes co-directed.

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