Movie Review: Devil’s Chair (2007)

Movie review: Devil’s Chair (2007)

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Cast:

  • Andrew Howard as Nick West
  • Pollyanna Rose as Sammy
  • David Gant as Doctor Willard
  • Louise Griffiths as Melissa
  • Elize du Toit as Rachel Fowles
  • Matt Berry as Brett Wilson

Without spoilers:

Some films are so bad they’re good (or good enough). This distinctly odd low-budget feature is one of those. Starring Izzy from Hollyoaks (Elise du Toit), the money-lending bad guy from Limitless (Andrew Howard) and the now very established Matt Berry, I’d been aware of this film for a long time and always intended to see it. Back in 2006, I’d been intrigued by the original trailer that promised a nightmare inducing monster and plenty of gore. Now that I’ve finally caught it for 99p, over ten years since its release, I’m caught between acknowledging it’s kind of awful, but impressed that it mostly delivered on what I was hoping for.

It centres around an unwise investigation into an insane asylum. A bunch of academics and a survivor investigate the ‘devil’s chair’ which apparently caused a big mess several years ago. The characters bicker constantly – it’s always a fine line between that attitude being fun, and making me hate the characters. In this case it leans towards the latter. Particularly annoying is Matt Berry’s ‘Brett’ character (named for Alien’s Brett perhaps) who takes ‘entitled rich arsehole’ to new levels. Maybe it’s more grating because I’ve seen him in other things, but in Devil’s Chair he tries for the funnybone, intentionally or not, and it’s quite jarring compared with the rest of the cast’s efforts. His magnificent voice actually works against him in this case.

In contrast, Nick West’s constant narration about how much he hates the university schmucks drags the whole story down, bashing on and on with his repetitious contempt – we get it, you truly loathe the academics and think you’re better than anyone else there – but it does, at least, serve a purpose.

If you can get past the awkwardness of its presentation, there’s plenty here for gorehounds. Clocking in at 91 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and gleefully straddles that awkward, camp-yet-nasty area that the Human Centipede movies squirm around in. Whilst its monster is pretty great, and the twist even greater, this is definitely not a GOOD flick. But if you can get past the smug-bastard voiceover – which does ultimately serve a purpose – then it’s a bloody good ride into low-budget madness.

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The devil advances. Might be best to watch in a darkish room. Light is the enemy of horror film watching!

Review with SPOILERS below – going to go into detail here about events in the film, decisions of characters. Do not proceed further unless you really want to know what happens. Also don’t read its wikipedia entry, which summarises the entirety of the plot for some reason.

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IT Crowd Season 4 (UK) 2010 Episode One

Make mine Moss!

Episode One: Jen the Fredo

Not being much of a Big Brother fan ( I will run screaming from the room), I end up avoiding Channel 4 for most of the summer – which is why I nearly missed the return of one the channel’s silliest, most loveable comedy shows. Moss, Roy and Jen are back at Reynham Industries, taking on the corporate world from the safety of their basement.

I was pleased to see that the basement still looks as though Forbidden Planet and Japan had exploded inside it. It’s full of references to everything from V for Vendetta to Zelda. Pehaps Moss (Richard Ayoade), the show’s uber-geek, is in charge of this scenery? Moss has always been the best part of the show, and is possibly the most deliciously awkward character on the planet, although he’s a little underused in this episode. I think he’s saving his geek powers for his appearence on Countdown next week.

Instead, the plot revolves around Jen (Katherine Parkinson), who wants a little more to her job than babysitting Moss and a lovelorn Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and applies for the position of Cultural Events Manager (the ‘Fredo‘) at Reynham Industries. Everyone says it’s not for her, and she soon discovers why – the businessmen aren’t interested in seeing Mamma Mia, they had something a little less disturbing in mind. They want ladies to, er, ‘dance’ with. So, naturally, Jen turns them over to the care of Roy and Moss. An emotional evening of playing Dungeons and Dragons awaits!

This show still loves its geeks, and the healing power of Dungeons & Dragons bonds everyone very sweetly. Jen has turned into a full on pimp by the end of it, but I think she’ll recover, even after she learned what happened to the Godfather’s Fredo. Douglas Reynham also survives a visit from the feminist lobby, who awarded him a very unflattering statue, and has to use his charms on Miranda (Dolly Wells), which goes rathr better than expected.

The series has shown steady improvement over the last few years – but it’s still very hit and miss. The last season relied heavily on its characters without really doing anything very interesting with them. It still does a good job of filtering topical ideas and making them into true sitcom situations, particuarly the one with the friendly German cannibal!

I felt this episode held together pretty strongly, with a sweet line in thwarted ambition and consequence free sexual harrassment. Of course it was obvious that D&D was going to be used to save the day, but I liked Jen’s Fredo payoff right at the end. This is still  the best show taking the piss out of the insanity of work since the Office, (UK version anyway), and delights in sending up those who squat at the top of the corporate ladder and those who crouch below it.

A great start to the new season, and you can watch it smoothly on youtube right here!