Reviewed by Adam Donato
Lair is written and directed by Adam Ethan Crow, who previously made The Conversation. Crow reteams with leading man Corey Johnson once again in this horror/thriller. Johnson plays a man whose goal is to prove the existence of demons. His plan is to rent out an apartment full of possessed items to an unsuspecting family and spy on them to see if anything happens. The film also stars Oded Fehr from The Mummy (1999), along with Alexandra Gilbreath, Alana Wallace, and Aislinn De’Ath. Does this indie horror have enough personality to stand out?
The movie starts out like a typical horror movie and for the most part, the movie generally is. Tonally, the movie is giving off vibes of a James Wan supernatural horror film. The big difference between this and anything Wan has done, is this has a much darker sense of humor. Wan’s jokes are lighter a fun, while Lair’s humor comes off more mean-spirited. This is mostly accredited to Johnson’s character, Steven Caramore. Mercilessly torturing an innocent family is bad enough, but he doesn’t even put in the effort to be fake nice about it. Almost rapid fire with his jokes at times, especially when paired with Gilbreath’s character. She plays a lawyer named Wendy Coulson who has an extremely contentious relationship with Caramore, her client’s friend. Some of these jokes fall flat but hitting one of every three jokes works when you tell fifty of them.
The family put in harm’s way is standard, besides the parents being a lesbian couple. There’s a scene where Caramore is watching them be intimate, which makes the movie feel like it’s going in a different direction. Besides the opening of the movie showing a pretty horrific kill, the rest of the movie gives an indication that this is all a hoax. Caramore has made faking ghost stories a regular trait. Felt like the movie was going to become about him getting caught for spying on the family. Then when the ghost is revealed, he’s proven to be true. Not innocent, but true.
For the low budget that this movie has, the look of the monster is fairly scary. It looks like the shadow of a Demogorgon from Stranger Things. The rest of the movie looks visually sub-par, but it’s a low-budget, straight-to-VOD horror movie so it doesn’t have to look great. That being said, expect this movie to stand out among the rest as the poster is this beautiful drawing. The kills also look amazing. There’s such an excessive amount of blood and gore in this movie. It’s truly stomach-twisting to see some of the character’s guts spill out of their body. Definitely enjoyable the bravest of horror fans.
Lair looks too low-budget to compete with even the cheapest of theatrical horror garbage features that come out during the slowest times of the year. But as far as straight-to-VOD horror features go, this one is sure to stand above the rest. Standard horror set-up, but with a twist. Non-traditional characters with some personality. Cheesy as the movie is, it’s a good time.
Lair hits VOD on November 9.