Why did I watch Lair? I don’t know. Why do things happen as they do in dreams? All I know is that when it beckoned, I had to watch it. From that moment, we traveled together. East. Always into the East. I will explain myself a bit later but for now, let’s focus on this new horror movie. A horror movie that’s more about family life than it’s about something scary. It’s about 5% scary, haunting stuff and 95% dialogue and stuff just happen. It feels like a German television movie about a haunted house. However, it has a certain quality that makes it incredibly easy to watch. I still can’t quite explain it.
And I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that in the center of the story is a passionate relationship between two hot girls. I mean, just look at that title Lair, it’s simply too on the nose. Plus, there will be no lair, just to make things clear. We’ve seen this same plot a thousand times before and the opening act was trying too hard to be snappy. And yet I have to say I enjoyed this movie. The characters were well developed and the storytelling was spot on. It was competently shot and you can already imagine how it would’ve looked with a bigger budget. Apart from forced dialogue, the rest of the script was quite solid. The exchanges between Wendy and Steven, once they warm up on ya, are hilarious.
And since the whole movie is taking place in London, it had this BBC quality miniseries vibe going on. I wonder why they didn’t make use of the whole rain thing And I think that the artefact could have been much more elaborate and detailed. The relatively unfamiliar cast did a great job, at least for the most part. Corey Johnson added a lot of energy and I can already see a bright future for young Anya Newall. And I just fell in love with Alana Wallace. Oh boy, I sure do miss the eighties horror movies where we would get at least some nudity.
After killing his whole family, paranormal researcher Ben is sent to prison. While talking to his partner Corey, he reveals that he was possessed by unknown forces during his killing spree. To test this theory and perhaps make some money on the side, Corey decides to hide the cursed artifact in an apartment. An apartment he plans on renting to an unwitting vacationing family from the States.
It’s good every once in a while to dip your toe or to take a swim in the waters of independent horror productions. To get a feel of what the filmmakers are up to these days. And Lair will do exactly that. It’s very easygoing and without much gore. For fuck’s sake, nothing much happens for practically an hour. At least when it comes to graphic violence. I also liked the whole weed angle, clearly written by someone with experience. And this is also coming from someone with experience. And yes, I still mumble bastards every time I see someone light up a joint on a screen. Visually, it’s quite impressive considering the obviously limited budget. Keep an eye out for Adam Ethan Crow’s next project, it could be pretty good.
Now, the intro for this review is a riff on the seven-minute cinematic for Diablo II: Resurrection. I still remember the night I saw it for the first time many years ago. That version now looks almost humorous, so luckily they remastered it into the one that’s still in my memory. They are so good that I remember concepts they used as I’m watching other stuff as I did here. And it is my dream that someone turns that freaking piece of art into a good horror movie. Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out Ghost Stories and Housebound.
Director: Adam Ethan Crow
Writers: Adam Ethan Crow, Stuart Wright
Cast: Corey Johnson, Emily Haigh, Alexandra Gilbreath, Alana Wallace, Anya Newall, Sean Buchanan, Oded Fehr
Fun Facts: Prosthetics department was headed by Tristan Versluis who worked on such films as The Revenant and Ex Machina. He also worked on Game of Thrones.