01st Oct2014

‘The Cellar’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Charlie Floyd, Lian Allweiss, Maggie Balistreri, Lowell Byers, Eric Chase, Andres De Vengoechea, Jessica Alexandra Green, Squeaky Moore | Written and Directed by Roger Sewhcomar

The-Cellar

It’s funny, I know a number of horror fans who, frustrated with the lack of creativity and originality with the genre they loved, took it upon themselves to try and make their idea of the perfect horror film – which is essentially the plot of The Cellar… Although the people I know didn’t take to actually killing people on camera, at least I hope not!

Stanley Farmer was rejected universally by the film world. His frustration provoked a darker side and soon cunning, guile, devilish charm and a sociopath’s streak compelled him to produce a home-made magnum opus. A film that blurs the lines between reality and fiction and demands the attention of the very world that spurned him.

Originally funded via Kickstarter in 2012, The Cellar, aka Do You Like My Basement? is Roger Sewhcomar’s first narrative feature film… and he had to go and chose the found-footage/POV format for it didn’t he?!! POV film making works well in small bursts but for an extended feature? Not so much. It’s not all first person film making of course, there are a number of occasions when Sewhcomar uses traditional filming techniques – but they’re few and far between. Which could have made the film some what hard-going.

But it’s not.

What Sewhcomar does with his story and the format does make for an astonishingly sinister film. Without being able to read Stanley’s facial expression the audience is left confused as to his motivations, couple that with the characters monotone, almost received-pronunciation, British accent and it’s hard to tell where Stanley’s playful fun and his twisted sociopathic side begin and end.You never know when Stanley will strike. Which actually makes for nerve-wracking tension.

It’s not all darkness though, the film has some seriously funny lines including an exchange between Stanley and his victim that includes the line “I swear! If you try and kill me I am going to be so upset with myself…  you eat crumpets for breakfast and drink tea at four o’clock. You couldn’t hurt me if you wanted to could you?” It’s a credit to writer/director Roger Sewhcomar that the balance between the horror and the comedy never feels forced – much like Stanley is trying to capture natural terror, Sewhcomar captures the natural bizarre nature of the stories entire situation. After all, why would ANYONE in their right mind go into someone’s house, alone, without checking on said person’s background or even telling someone where they’re going? It ridiculous! And that’s why the comedy works so well.

Shot on a microscopic budget, in one location (for the most part) , with one lead character and few cameras, the question you must ask is not do you like my basement? But how the hell is such a film able to terrify? Because it does.

The Cellar, aka The Basement/Do You Like My Basement? is out now on DVD from 4Digital Media.

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