4 years ago Nick West and his girlfriend Sammie broke into an abandoned asylum for some adult fun. Only Nick returned speaking tales of a demonic chair that ‘took’ Sammy. Nick was committed as criminally insane. Now Professor Willard takes Nick back to the Blackwater institute to face his fears and to conquer his demons once and for all. But does Professor have an ulterior motive? Where did the chair come from? And what is the demon cloaked in black?
The Devil’s Chair is another low budget horror movie and contains a couple of actors that you may recognise. There are a lot of these cluttering the shelves of blockbuster and the horror sections of DVD shops. There are actually a great many little gems in a sea of excrement and I am happy to say that this is one of those gems.
So what does separate this from the crowd? Well basically the balls that was used in filming the whole piece. The uncompromising of Writer/Director Adam Mason and writer Simon Boyes. The duo have previously shown what can be done with a handful of loose change found down the back of the sofa in the award winning Broken filmed a couple of years previous to this movie.
A lot can be said for the style of the movie. Fantastic use of lighting, camera work and great use of CGI (ie sparingly and you won’t actually know it is there). Where other movies with a much greater budget have hulking monsters breathing CGI fire that look like they are stolen out of a video game. This is a movie that rejoices in the fact that the budget keeps the script contained character driven and does actually have effective effects and looks to what can be done as opposed to just avoiding what cannot.
It would have been so easy for them to just opt into a teen haunted house movie, but this is so much more grown up. Avoiding the ’20 somethings’ actors playing characters in their late teens brings a maturity and extra credibility to the whole piece.
The acting from Andrew Howard is great, gritty and real, David Gant is a classic British actor relishing a great role. Matt Berry (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace) is sadly underused in the whole piece, he is a great comic actor and a good actor but his role just seemed to be to be a bit of padding to a cast that didn’t actually need him with the exception to goof around a little and ‘be taken’ by the Chair of the title.
Another thing that the writers/director have been clever about is their homage to 1980’s horror. Unlike a lot of movies post SCREAM it is not through the mentioning of a horror movie title every scene (?This is like The Town That Dreaded Sundown? type of ass kissing) but through some scenes style and feel.
Bonus features are a 2 part documentary on the making of the film and directors commentary. The documentary does have a bit of director/producer/writer talking to camera cut in with out takes, snippets of deleted scenes (which makes me wish they included a deleted scene section, but that is a couple of hours of material from what I gather). But instead of a pure love in where everyone goes on about the qualities of the other (though there is a little of that) It does tell both the story of making a film on a low budget and a whole attitude to film making that seemed to stun and impress the American Producers. It also tells the story of the director Adam who ended up moving to LA for a couple of months after finishing filming 2 years or so ago and is still there!
Highly recommended 4/5