The Chair

| June 20, 2008

You know, when you can start a movie with a quote from Harry Houdini, back in 1921, about some guy named Mordecai Zymytryk and how his powers “baffle and haunt” him, you just might have something there. Of course, you’re also setting the bar just spectacularly high. Your movie, basically, is about some guy whose powers are so allegedly amazing that Harry Houdini himself is baffled and haunted by it. Therefore, the rest of us poor schlubs should be left absolutely dumbfounded and terrified.
Which is most of the plot–this Zymytryk guy’s house was recently moved into by a hot blonde chick working on her master’s thesis, and naturally, the house still has plenty of mystery and evil left on its hands.
So at this point I’m scoffing almost audibly–it really does sound like “bah!”–and thinking that these guys put way too much setup into this and not nearly enough delivery. But, okay…I can be a charitable enough fellow when the mood strikes so I’m willing to give it a chance.
And I confess that I’m not always disappointed. For instance, there’s this marvelously freaky sequence involving a moving chair that our heroine Danielle never actually notices. Also, that chick playing Danielle, Alanna Chisholm, is actually pretty good. She’s going from marginally insane co-ed to quite thoroughly insane killer type. And there’ll be plenty of creepy stuff to go around, too…mostly at the hands of Alanna Chisholm.
The ending features a couple interesting and–yet again–creepy twists, not to mention a fairly well out-of-nowhere twist ending.
The special features include audio options with director’s commentary, English and Spanish subtitles, a featurette showing the Zymytryk / Crowe mesmerism video in its entirety, a behind the scenes featurette, and trailers for The Chair, The Eye, The Entrance, Sight, Seance, TKO, Knock Knock, the freaky Fearnet ad, and the After Dark Horrorfest.
All in all, The Chair is a singularly freaky experience that’ll really put some credibility back into the direct-to-video market. Eminently watchable, and very much worth your time, if The Chair doesn’t freak you out even slightly you’ve got a far stronger stomach than I do. Even I got just a bit freaked out, and I’ve been watching this stuff for decades.

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