20th Dec2019

‘The Dwelling’ Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Dennis Andres, George Krissa, Hamza Fouad, Alex Loubert, Mary-Elizabeth Willcott, Craig Cyr, Tom Marasovic, Dwayne Bryshun, Samantha Cole | Written by Cody Calahan, Jeff Maher | Directed by Jeff Maher

dweling-art

The Dwelling is also known as Bed of the Dead, and the poster is a loving homage to the Evil Dead. Promising stuff from Uncork’d Entertainment, which harks back to that “so bad it is almost good but isn’t” review I did of The Demonologist (sadly it is nothing like the Evil Dead).

Here we kick off with an old-timey satanic lynching before coming back to the present for a police controller casually explaining there has been a fire at a sex club. Jesus, some days it is tough being a cop. It is the ruffled hair, the leather jacket, the hip flask and an old photo of a girl that gets me through these late nights being a tough grizzled cop. We then crack on with a flashback (to me, time jumping 3 times so quickly is a mistake but get used to it), our four main characters heading into the sex club to have an orgy (is 4 the minimum number required to technically have an orgy?).

The script is full of awkward conversations about smoking being forbidden, or a room with a bed being unavailable (it is a special bed to be fair, but the staff at this sex club simply are not customer experience oriented). I must confess, I have never been to a sex club (I fear and detest the social interactions of a regular club) but my guess is sex clubs are not really like this. Basically, the characters don’t quite talk how real people talk, meeps. Also, we never see any actual sex, just a few people in towels (I would bring my own, plus, flip flops).

Anyway, our plucky foursome manage to bribe their way into a “special” room, that has white sheets over the furniture (I imagine you get a good deal of splatter in sex clubs). I would think the scariest thing in a sex club would be revealed with a UV light, but no! When people start getting sucked under the bed by something you can’t see, they work out surprisingly quickly they must stay on the bed to survive.

We are stuck, on the bed, Of dread. It is a lot less fun than it sounds. “If we get off this bed, then we die” is the report an erstwhile victim gives the cop on the phone (from the past). His question is not “why?” but “who else is there?” which, you know… doesn’t sound quite right. The quality of the video and sound is decent, as one might expect since 4K cameras are now as cheap as chips. The direction is also not bad. Not great, sure, but not bad.

Considering the amount of the time our characters spend on the bed, we spend far too much time away in a slightly different time zone, with the cop with the predictable backstory. Basically, The Dwelling doesn’t really follow through with its own concept and we really do limp into the third act. The 1 hour and 20 minutes really drags. Somewhere after the 15-minute mark we really need to empathize with the characters but beyond the absolute cliché basics we never learn anything interesting or develop any feelings towards our survivors.

Why is the bed of the dead in the sex club place in the first place? What kind of a way is that to run a business? Spoilers -, we later find out that the bed is “punishing people for their sins.. You run a flipping sex club? Your clientele is going to have made regrettable choices, so why would you have this bed in your place of business?

The acting isn’t brilliant, and a couple of the important characters seem miscast. The plot, script and design decisions are just quite limiting in how enjoyable the film is going to be. The actors are taking things “seriously” but the monsters prompt a certain amount of mockery, we get some bone cracking sounds of a zombie lady crawling towards her victim, sadly it is clear they are just hoping no one notices she’s crawling normally. If you are noticing these little details, you are not enjoying a horror film.

The Dwelling also seems to forget the present is a flashback, so trying to build a “what the heck will happen?” is redundant when we know the outcome. Like expecting us to get excited about sport highlights when we already know the score.

“I am ending this my way, and I am taking the bed with me”. If only the rest of the film were as fun as this line.

The Dwelling is available now on Digital and DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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