Pretty blonde Danielle (Alanna Chisholm) moves into an apartment not too dissimilar-looking to the one that causes all the chew in Michael Winner's THE SENTINEL.

After unpacking and ignoring an answer phone message from her ex-boyfriend Ryan (Nick Abraham), she takes a bubble bath to unwind. A bottle of medication in Danielle's name sits conspicuously on the side of the bathtub.

A noise disturbs Danielle and she ventures downstairs to investigate. She can't find anything out of place, so returns upstairs and prepares herself for bed.

While in bed, Danielle notices two books on her shelf that appear to move by themselves.

The following morning Danielle rings her sister Anna (Lauren Roy) who knows of Danielle's recent breakdown and fears that Danielle is having delusions again - or that Ryan is trying to freak her out by playing pranks on her.

But that's not the case. Danielle sets a video camera up on a tripod beside her bed that night and begins to film herself sleeping. Upon being woken by a strange noise, Danielle rings Anna who journeys straight round to the apartment to offer support.

The girls decide to look up the apartment on the Internet. They find a site that claims the apartment was once owned by infamous clairvoyant and spiritualist Mordecai Zymytryk. Which all sounds a tad spooky.

Naturally, the sisters retire to bed regardless but before long are woken by guttural sounds.

The following morning, Anna goes off to her job as a dental assistant and Danielle continues to probe her new home, convinced it is harbouring something supernatural. Oddly, she doesn't spot the chair suspended in the air behind her at one point.

That evening Danielle films herself sleeping again. This times she has a nightmare of being raped and wakes convinced that she has genuinely been attacked. Anna races round to watch the filmed footage of the event with Danielle, and they convince themselves they saw shadows moving in the bedroom.

The plot thickens when Danielle follows more strange noises one night to a wall in the attic. She hammers a hole in the wall and finds a hidden room. In it is a curious box with an amulet inside it. Danielle believes the amulet has mysterious powers, but Anna is still not convinced that all of this is not simply down to her sister's increasingly fragile state of mind.

But perhaps even Anna's cynicism will be destroyed when she reads through the literature found in the newly discovered hidden room, telling of a sinister child killer named Crowe. Even spookier, the girls find a Victorian chair that Crowe used to torture children in

THE CHAIR suffers from pedestrian, workman-like direction for the most part. It's tepid stuff, like an extremely tame take on modern Asian horror. The build-up is leisurely, which would be fine - but unfortunately the pay-off lacks dramatic muscle.

The characters are one-dimensional and the performances are lacking in energy or charisma, so it's impossible to feel any concern for the threat they may be facing. And the dialogue dictates that these characters are DUMB.

The house - reputedly director Brett Sullivan's actual home - is undeniably intended as the main character in the film and looks imposing at times. However, the direction and camera work are so uninventive and boring that even the house loses its sense of threat.

As for the chair? Well, it may be intended to be the grisly centrepiece for the action but it arrives too late and crucially isn't scary. It just doesn't cause enough terror.

Admittedly, while this low-budget affair lacks tension or credibility, it does at least offer a last-minute (well, literally last second) twist which is deliciously dark. But it's not enough to recommend the insipid hour-and-a-half that precedes it.

THE CHAIR is presented uncut in a non-anamorphic 1.66:1 transfer which, while a tad soft, is bright and vibrant. The film looks like it was shot on DV, and if that's the case it's not a bad transfer at all.

The English 2.0 audio does it's job well, consistent and problem-free.

Static menu pages include a scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 8 chapters.

The only extra on the disc is a 90-second trailer that lifts footage mainly from the opening minutes of the film.

THE CHAIR provides nothing new in this day and age. Granted, it's rare to come across something original these days, so the best we can usually ask for is fresh spins on old formats or tired conventions delivered with winning enthusiasm.

THE CHAIR offers none of the above.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Dnc Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review