Director – Brett Sullivan
Cast – Alanna Chisholm, Lauren Roy, Nick Abraham, Paul Soren, Nickolas Tortolano, Adam Seybold
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Well, once again I was suckered into giving a low-budget film with a cool DVD cover a viewing, despite knowing that it would most likely not end favorably for me. The suckering became worse when this film actually took off to a great start, delivering some nice creepy scenes and positive horror, but slowly and assuredly The Chair sunk into horror hell and left me with that ugly feeling inside.
Danielle, a young psychology grad student, moves into a century-old Victorian home to work on her thesis and rebuild her life after a traumatic event. Soon after moving in she begins to notice strange phenomena going on in the home in the wee hours of the night, and proceeds to document the events with a video camera. Unbeknownst to Danielle, she has released the spirit of a malevolent child killer, a killer who uses Danielle to bring forth his deadly torture device…the “Panic Chair”.
I have always been a fan of horror films involving someone moving into a creepy old home and suffering paranormal events, so naturally that is what really attracted me to this film. Director Brett Sullivan(Ginger Snaps: Unleashed) did a good job providing a great atmosphere for the film, with a dark and gloomy cinematography and a house spooky enough to deliver some good scares if used properly. The first act of the film got things going very well, with some nice spooky scenes delivered to us via sound and spooky visuals. I knew that Brett Sullivan could deliver a positive directing effort given his success with the slow yet positive Ginger Snaps: Unleashed, but sadly everything else after the first act fell below mediocre levels. I don’t know what happened, but after the first act the acting performances from everyone involved went to crap, as did Sullivan’s execution. We no longer received any good chills or good camerawork, but all of this is secondary to the film’s biggest flaw…the script.
Writer Michael Capellupo did an OK job with the film’s overall plot, which included several twists and turns and a pretty awesome torture device in the “Panic Chair”, but it was the usual and all-too-important “little things” that really tore this film apart. Poor dialogue and horrible character play ruined what was going on between the film’s low number of characters, which was worsened when you compounded that with the horrible acting performances from the film’s actors. I often knock a film for throwing in useless characters, which usually comes as a result of the writers throwing in a lot of characters to serve as eye candy and wind up not having enough material to support them all. Well, The Chair delivered a first for me in that it was a film with no more than five on-screen characters throughout the entire film, of which only three were on screen more than 10 minutes, yet somehow Mr. Capellupo managed to give us some worthless character usage often reserved for films that try to give us more than they bargained for. It really is a shame when you have less to work with yet you still fail as far as your characters go, but it seemed like The Chair enjoyed staying in the negatives. The rest of the storyline involves the backstory of the events that lead to the child-murdering spirit inhabiting the house, and along with the twists and turns the film delivered I honestly felt that Capellupo failed at selling the story to me, and instead left me with an uninteresting film that I had to return to given this film actually put me to sleep.
Overall, The Chair is a low-budget watch that despite some early promise, quickly sunk into despair thanks to a poor story and equally poor direction/execution. This is one film that I recommend you stay away from.