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Ahad, 26 Februari 2012


The Devil’s Chair (2006)
Directed By:
Adam Mason
Starring: Olivia Hill, Eric M. Breiman, Gary Mackay, David Gant
Review By: Kayley Viteo
The Devil’s Chair is a highly intriguing film and one I genuinely enjoyed. So when I saw a fellow BAH contributor had written a solidly negative review (read here), I felt like I owed it to the film to write my own take on it. I’m not going to lie – I was quite surprised that I did enjoy this film. Adam Mason and Simon Boynes also wrote Broken, which I couldn’t even finish, but their most recent effort is by leaps and bounds a better film.
The Devil’s Chair is about two lovers who do some drugs and then one sits in a chair. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Problem is, something is seriously wrong with that chair, ultimately sending the lead character, Nick (played fantastically by Andrew Howard and yes, he does look exactly like Jason Statham), into a sanitarium. And if the beginning of the movie wasn’t enough, a misguided professor and his ragtag group of research assistants then decide to use Nick as a fun trip into a very damaged psyche. Bad idea. I repeat: bad idea.
I saw The Devil’s Chair for the first time at Fantastic Fest four years ago. Then, I watched it again when I realized it had been released on DVD (which, by the way, needs a different/better cover as soon as possible) and decided it was time for a second viewing. Since then, I’ve also watched it once more. And you know what? The Devil’s Chair holds up to repeat viewings better than I thought it would. You can say a lot about Broken, but it is most obvious from this film that Mason and Boynes know their way around entertaining horror with an edge that pushes the violence to the limits. That is good news for us serious horror fans.
Featuring a startlingly original plot that allows a weird mixture of horror and even some sci-fi, the film completely works on a number of levels. This is particularly because not only is the script very strong, but so are the special effects and make-up work done on the characters. The cinematography is also excellent. Generally, despite being an independent film through and through, the production value is high (even down to the score, done amazingly by the great Zoë Keating) and shots that are designed to be creepy actually are. I often find with indie horror films that even if they have a great plot and great writing, they end up with cheesy looking action scenes or lame gore, which can ultimately be the death of a film that relies on it – at least in part. There’s none of that here.
One of the faults I find with the film is the awesomely bad overacting by David Gant, who plays Dr. Willard, as well as the actress who plays his girlfriend. It is so over the top (particularly on Gant’s part) that I think it was done on purpose, but it doesn’t make sense when everyone else is playing roles that are taken seriously and the two leads are very good. Other than that, my only other real negative is that the narration is annoying at times. Generally, I liked it – which is saying something. I normally don’t like narration unless it’s done very well, but it is used differently here and seems to weave in nicely with the tone and characters of the film. At times, it is creepy and serves to amp up the anticipation and at others, it is quite sly and witty. However, there are moments where I simply rolled my eyes because it felt like the director was writing in his own excuses.
Also, the ending is so much fun to watch. If you’re a gorehound – or as this film calls us, “torture porn gorewhores” (and I actually feel kind of complimented, I’ve never been called a gorewhore before), you’ll find the ending to be a real treat. It’s not so much awash in viscera, but there are rivers of blood and the violence is sadistic – especially in the last five minutes.
Overall, The Devil’s Chair is a strong horror film. It is definitely not for all horror fans. Although the blood and gore is dealt with amazingly, it remains a very cerebral film that can be challenging on a multitude of levels. Keep an open mind going into it because nothing you expect will be close to what this film dishes out or what you think it is.
As always, I’d love to hear what you readers think of the film. It seems to be very polarizing among the horror community, with some thinking it’s nothing but torture porn (by the way, I hate that phrase), yet others think it is creative and unique. I’m a part of the latter group, where do you fall.

movies yang best.  aku saja layan.  beli CD dia kat JJ Klang Bukit Raja.  memang teruja tengok kulit CD dia ni.  satu lagi yang aku beli ialah... tajuknya nanti aku bagitau... aku belum tengok lagi... Insyallah  minggu depan... hehehe... apa pun enjoy tengok movie ni... seram siuttt!!!  movie yang aku tengah tunggu... MAEL LAMBONG... nantikan citenya di pewagam rumah aku! (-kerana aku tak sempat nak gi pewagam la ni...  terpaksa buat rumah sendiri jadi pewagam...spesel punya!  sejak aku kahwin dan beranak pinak ni.. aku dah takde masa nak pi pewagam dah.. semuanya aku buat kat umah.. ansib baik lah ada TV Biskut ni... sedap juga mata memandang... hehehe!)

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