Origami gone wild
Music Lover in Omaha | Omaha, Ne | 05/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's see. Low budget picture I never heard of then throw in a cast of actors I had never heard of and give us a recycled plot of a killer from 100 years ago possessing the body and/or spirit of someone living today. I had hoped for a few laughs. Oops! No laughs...This was one surprisingly good movie. To earn 5 stars, I think a film has to deliver on what it promises and this one more than comes through. There are some pretty solid performances in this film, especially by Alanna Chisholm who played Danielle. You had to love her as the tormented girl being possessed by the spirit of the nutcase researcher from 100 years ago, Mordecai something. Also doing a good job was Lauren Roy as Anna, Danielle's sister, although leaving Danielle alone in the house after all that had gone on with the chair was kind of ditzy. And when she went into the house and found hundreds of origami birds all over the place, well...What was she thinking? Can't she understand weird when she sees it? Then, of course, there's the ending. Wow! Anyway, this is an easy recommend for lovers of suspense. Low budget, and pretty much unknown, I say give this one a chance. This is 89 minutes that won't waste your time."
Dim lighting and cheap fabric. Now that's how you move merch
Sid the Elf | North Pole | 10/06/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There is nothing better on a crisp October evening then picking up a nice horror flick. While at the video store there were a few flicks in hand but this one looked so creepy and the back said it won 3 horror festival awards, so we were sold. One thing that's begining to become bothersome is how great they make the covers of these films look (This has something to do with the obscure title of our review). Talk about misleading. Especially since a lot of these ultra-low budget flicks are spending most of the budget on the packaging. They'll fool you everytime. Our last horror review was Halloween Night wich drew us in on a cool looking cover and description but let us down worse then ever before. Thankfully The Chair wasn't a total waste but still pretty weak.
The film starts off with psychology student Danielle Velayo as she moves into a large brownstone type home (which is director Brett Sullivan's actual house) to escape from some issues she's been having at home. Right off the bat the atmosphere of the home gives off some very creepy vibes. The film certainly had that going for it. As Danielle is unpacking she is on the phone with her sister who seems concerned. See Danielle had some extreme paranoia disorder which she needs to take medicine to control. To get herself relaxed she decides to hop in the bath to unwind a bit. She hops in, turns up her radio, and starts to um..play with herself. Yeah it was out of left field but thats okay. While she's gets cooking she hears a noise downstairs which forces her to jump up and check it out. Nobody was there so she decides to hit the sack. Once in bed she hears strange noises and see's on of her books fell. She fixes them and looks up a few seconds later to see them arranged in a completely different way. Now at this point you're creeped out. The next night she positions a video camera on hersef to see what's going on at night. As she reviews the footage she see's a strange black mist floating around her. Then see's it go out the door and into a room next door. Now you're really creeped out. It would sem the sensible thing to do is run like hell and never go back but she remains in the house. So far the film has been very successful despite it's extreme low budget. The entire film is shot in this house but they were really making it work.
She decides to call up her sister to have her stay at the house for a few days to see if the strange things keep happening. Once the sister is there the occurrences still go on forcing them to research the house online. They come to find it's known to be haunted by the ghost of a murderer who prayed on children about 100 years earlier. Again they choose to stay in the home and continue to poke around. They discover a secret room that filled with all these newpaper articles about the killings that took place. Once this room is discovered Danielle begins to act very strange. From this point the film drags and drags on to the point of exhaustion. Danielle is becoming possesed by this spirit which is forces her to do strange things but the pace it takes to show her transformation is a complete waste. It could've been done in about 10 minutes instead of 30. We don't even have the energy to explain the rest of the film so we won't.
Overall this film was pretty lame. It's really unfortunate because the first 20 minutes were really creepy. However beyond that point it takes far too long to get the story under way. Also shooting nearly the entire film in the director's home takes away from the story. With no change of scenery you feel like you're watching the same scene over and over again. So much could've been done to make this a true horror movie. The whole haunted house angle has so many possibilities. There isn't anyone who isn't creeped out by the thought of ghosts. They just didn't take it where they should have. As much as we wanted to it was just not possible to like this movie. We were really rooting for it too knowing how low the budget must have been. We recommend you pass this one up despite any of the positive reviews out there."
Alanna Chisholm makes this film a winner
Phillip Royer | San Francisco | 08/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Horror films are a gamble but it's easy to tell fairly quickly when it's time to hold 'em and when it's time to fold 'em. The direction, cinematography, and character introductions reveal promptly where the film is aiming at on the stupid scale and how serious of an effort it's going to be. The Chair was shot on video but looks remarkably good to my eyes and Brett Sullivan's direction is smartly done--not so much in the way he captures the scenes but for the way he gets to them--the camera peers around a corner, or from across the room, from inside a closet, or it nestles itself on the ceiling and observes from there. It's not rocket science to make those choices for a film about a haunted house, but Sullivan's execution is inspired.
The Chair begins with a few black & white moments of spooky snippets and background data on mesmerism. Then we're brought to the present in the presence of a blond pony-tail. Uh-oh ... a quick shot of pony-tail girl from the attic of the house she's about to move into, and then she's into the bathtub to relax and pleasure herself. Umm ...
Alanna Chisholm plays the pony-tail and looks like she could be Nicole Sullivan's twin sister. It's her performance that makes this film a winner. Once she's out of the tub and on to developing her character it's refreshing to see she's not playing it anywhere near bimbo. She's got big expressive eyes and a quirky yet confident mixed-uppedness about her that's appealing, inviting both fear and empathy. We know she's medicated and has a history of breakdowns, which she uses to her advantage. Since she is operating under suspicion of not having both oars in the water, she is unpredictable--but never hysterical. She never imagines anything; it's all really happening. It's just up to her grad school self to find the paradigm it all fits into. When her sister and the cleavage she rode in on arrive to act as the reasonable foil, Chisholm begins playing with a cold determination that works as a transition to the possessed-by-the-never-quite-dead-100-year-old-spirit-of-a-killer-that-invades-her-body character.
Said spirit belongs to a man who was mesmerized right at the moment of death--while sitting in a spooky chair in the very house Chisholm now inhabits--and then buried alive causing him to remain in a state of horrifying limbo for a hundred years--a fate the mesmerist feels is worse than death for the man who killed his daughter, or something like that ... so there's some plot going on behind Chisholm's performance.
Plot is a difficult thing and even if we give it only a 3.8 on a scale of 10 it could still win a batting title. What interests me more are the nuances and subtle humor Sullivan and Chisholm bring to the proceedings, which also grant the film membership in the much vaunted Horror version2 category.
When it's time to explore the dark and secret room they discover in the house (plot), Chisholm and her sister's cleavage use one of those flashlights you have to wind up to get any light from. It's done without fanfare, making it quite funny. The big race-against-time action sequence toward the end of the film seems to fizzle out empty and unproductive, deliberately, making it funny and absurd. My favorite bits of the film, however, are when Chisholm settles down to research and does a slow roll of her neck, cracking it. Makes creepy noises."