16th Nov2021

‘Lair’ VOD Review – Second Opinion

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Oded Fehr, Corey Johnson, Aislinn De’Ath, Alana Wallace, Anya Newall, Lara Mount, Alexandra Gilbreath | Written by Adam Ethan Crow, Stuart Wright | Directed by Adam Ethan Crow

You know what I love more than a Cadbury’s Whole Nut bar? A low key Brit horror that delivers an atmospheric old school feel with an up to date vibe. The kind of Brit horror that knows exactly what it wants to be and acts accordingly. It delivers on the thrills and spills, serves up a big old dollop of ‘the f***’ and most importantly keeps you bloody well entertained for its runtime.

Lair is one of those movies.

Ben (Oded Fehr) is in prison for murdering his wife and daughter; lawyer Wendy Coulson (Alexandra Gilbreath) kind of sort of believes he was possessed by a demon, maybe? Steven (Corey Johnson) in an effort to clear Ben and hopefully make some money, has created an apartment filled with spy cams and demonic trinkets. He then rents it out to Carly (Alana Wallace) her girlfriend Maria (Aislinn De’Ath) and Maria’s daughters Joey (Anya Newall) and Lilly (Lara Mount). This new upstart family already have some inner demons to work on, they just walked into a house with actual demons!

I am going to start with our four female leads as our newly formed family. I thought Aislinn De’Ath and Alana Wallace were excellent playing off each and portrayed a very organic couple figuring out who they themselves are but also how they fit into their relationship, not only with each other but also the kids. Throw in our young actors too and there is a palpable powder keg of emotions that helps to build tension upon tension right the way through. The family dynamic is what propels Lair and makes some of the jankier dialogue and somewhat tropey possession stuff easy to get on with.

Speaking of janky… I like Corey Johnson and I really did like his role in Lair but there really are moments where he is no longer just a man on the edge but he is borderline absurd. However this is what I mean by the movie knows what it wants to be. Johnson’s role is one you really just have to lean into and work with what you have; and lean into the role is what Johnson does here making the role a fun time. I personally love a good well delivered one liner and there are parts of this movie where Johnson is talking in one liners.

Now, I have to point something out: I can’t see Lair having the biggest budget ever but cinematographer Stewart White has shot this stunningly. There are some outstanding looking scenes throughout the film that really stood out – an indication that this crew know what they are doing. Other places the film shines is in the effects. The practical stuff is done very well and what little VFX that was used worked for me. I often say that when it comes to lower budget movies, as long as you care about the project and put everything into it, that is worth more than any budget and more importantly worth my time… and yours!

In closing, Lair is a bit of an up and down movie. The family dynamic is most intriguing and is what drives things forward. The demonic possession stuff is the impending threat but only really gets moving 15-20 minutes from the end (but what a third act we have). Corey Johnson spying on the family provides some real thriller aspect but there is sadly a weird disconnect between his story and the movie itself; but I guess you can only do so much with what’s written and a lot of his dialogue felt like someone delivering their favourite quotes from other movies.

I think Lair is absolutely worth your time. It’s not the next Conjuring franchise by any stretch but in a sea of low-budget British horror Lair stands out amongst them. Four very good female lead performances, that I thought held this movie up; a cheeky little role for Emily Haigh, a name getting banded around more and more right now for her sheer graft. And as a lad from the North East it’s always a treat to see super talent Alana Wallace bringing her A-game.

Perfect?? No… However the effort is there and this one got me intrigued enough to see where Adam Ethan Crow goes next.

**** 4/5

Lair is available on VOD platforms from 1091 Pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.