Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The last film I saw from British director Adam Mason was his extremely unpleasant movie ĎBrokení. Effective, but no less unpleasant. Today we had the opportunity to see Mr. Masonís film ĎThe Devilís Chairí, while still not the feel good movie of the year, it did make ĎBrokení feel a little like a trip to Six Flags since it had a bit of humor inserted within itís mayhem, rape, murder and bloodshed.

A profane Nick West, capably played by actor Andrew Howard, narrates this pretty much from start to finish and tells us almost from the opening gun that everybody in the movie is about to die, and if you have doubts there are bits and pieces of flash forwards of bloody and dying people so itís not looking like itís going to end good for anybody in this one. The brutality starts, as Nick will explain, with he and his girl Sammy (Pollyanna Rose) head to an out of the way abandoned sanitarium to indulge in a little x and a shag. Why these wacky kids decide to go to a dirty nasty condemned building to screw is beyond me, but we gotta get there some kinda way. At least they werenít planning a rave party which is the usual reason stupid kids end up in places like this. So in this place is a contraption that looks like an electric chair missing a few parts and poor Sammy decides to sit in it which ultimately results in her brutal death.

Now Nick claims that the chair killed his girl but obviously the authorities arenít buying into any of that and itís off to joint for the criminally insane where he would stay for four years. Only four years you say? Apparently Nick has been observed by one Dr. Willard (David Gant) throughout his stay in the wacky ward who believes that Nick is actually telling the truth about this chair. The doctor proceeds to tell us a rather fantastic tale about a Dr. Blackwater, who back in the day was using this chair for some unearthly experiments and as such he is writing a book about his findings and has decided to take our suspected insane killer back to place where the insane killing took place. Along for the ride are two of Dr. Willardís top students in the jerk off Matt (Brett Wilson), the hot to distraction Rachel (Elize du Toit) and the docís assistant, and even hotter to even more distraction Melissa (Louise Griffiths). Now the character of Matt might be a complete jack off but me and Matt did ask the same question in Ďhow good a plan is it to take an insane killer back to the place where the killings took place?í As it would turn out itís a terrible idea because in no time flat that evil chair, that people insist on sitting in, is sucking people into the realm of where resides some blood demon, the creature that apparently took poor Sammy away from us. Now to prove his innocence once and for all Nick risks everything to travel to the realm of this creature to try to find a way to save the plumb idiots who throught it was a good idea to drive five hours to the middle of nowhere with a suspected homicidal maniac in tow. Or not.

So what are to make of this movie ĎThe Devilís Chairí, a concept that we must admit is a bit silly since all you have to do to avoid its evil is not sit in it. Itís certainly never dull as Mason has chosen a quicker pace for this film as opposed to the depressing deliberate tone he had set for ĎBrokení. We will also assume that the director is working with a few more dollars since it certainly shows up in some rather nice claustrophobic set designs, a monster that looks like a rework of that creature from ĎFeastí and heightened levels of gore. It also has a conclusion that is about as brutally violent as anything Iíve seen recently and Iíve seen a thing or two in my day, though Mr. Mason has thrown in a few words, in a rather odd sequence, for those of you who get off on this kind of thing.

Itís at this point that the movie might get a little too strange because as we have said earlier the character of Andrew narrates throughout, giving us his opinion of the situation heís in, the characters heís met, his disposition and ultimately he even gives us his opinion of the movie heís in launching a full out verbal assault on the film, the acting in the film, the films genre and then the audience that makes it a point to watch films like this. Now Iím not too sure how well this little narrative device works, recognizing completely that itís flowing with the overall absurdity of the movie, but is it ever a good idea to outwardly insult your audience?  Yeah, I donít know if thatís cool attacking the people dropping their dimes to enjoy your work, and even though Iíve come to despise torture horror films, the fans of that genre are like the last group of folks Iím trying to piss off. Iím tossing up a picture of Elize along with the cover art. Impressive. A little light in the bum for my taste, but still the best thing to come out of South Africa since Nelson Mandela.

Similar to his film ĎBrokení Adam Mason leaves me in a quandary as Iím not sure how I felt about this film either. Itís not a bad film and it has its clever moments, but itís also erratic and peculiar in its presentation. This however does make it different, which in a sea of sameness is not a bad thing at all. Peculiar to say the least.

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