The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - THE DWELLING | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - THE DWELLING

the dwelling review
Two couples find themselves at the whim of a possessed bed.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Jeff Maher

Starring: Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Dennis Andres, Hamza Fouad

the dwelling poster

A quick note for indie horror filmmakers - if you are thinking of beginning your movie with slow motion re-enactments of the backstory while a choral orchestra accompanies it, please think again. Having watched many indie horrors by this stage, this opening has been done to death.

The Dwelling features such a beginning – it shows how a tree had been used to support many people taken there to die by various hanging ways only to be cut down and fashioned into a bed that somehow winded up at a sex club.

Modern day now, and we watch as the aftermath of some violent criminal activity is investigated. Enter Virgil (Colin Price), who you can tell is a serious cop by the way he gets out of his car and straightens his collar so it’s upright and ready for business before he heads to the crime scene. Unfortunately he follows this seemingly ‘cool’ action by vomiting behind his car, but he still maintains his street cred by swallowing down his anti-nausea pills with some good old flask alcohol. That a boy!

He pauses inside the car to add some personal grief to his indicated alcohol problem, as nothing says back-story like a photo behind the visor that you can meaningfully stare at.

Inside the club he learns what’s happened - five DOAs that leave the police puzzled.

There’s also been a fire in room 18, and while the police investigate that we have flashbacks as to what happened to the survivors leading to the events of that night.

the dwelling review

The flashbacks introduce us to two couples - jock Ren and his girlfriend Sandy, and new duo, milder-mannered Fred and girlfriend Nancy - as they bribe their unlucky way into the infamous room 18 and its Emperor-sized bed.

After some fumbled attempts at the foursome they’d promised birthday boy Ren, they retire to the bed where the men sulk in silence and the women sleep. When they awaken later and things start to go horribly violently wrong, it seems they are trapped.

They seem to get to the ‘bed is bad but don’t get off the bed or you’ll die’ reasoning fairly quickly and easily, when I would’ve thought there would be a lot more discussion about how ridiculous that sounds; but gotta keep the plot moving I suppose.

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It’s not long after the first death they start to have hallucinations, but they are quite happy to continue to react to said obvious hallucinations as if they were real, often following them straight to their own demises.

It appears that all the victims have sordid histories, things they got away with but shouldn’t have; people with debts to be paid.

There is some ‘Saw’ lite retribution with the gruesome deaths but it’s easier to revel in them when you know of the victim’s unpaid crimes.

the dwelling review

Here however, I have to admit to taking issue to the reasons why these people are now marked for death. Some are certainly deserving, the male characters have backgrounds including drunk driving resulting in death and sexual assault. I can live with those reasons yes, but for the women the reasons they gave them were not actually bad at all.

For one of them her friend died instead of her, after putting himself in front of her when she caught the attention of a school shooter. How this makes her death ‘earned’ by bad behaviour I don’t know.

The other girl’s backstory is confusing too; she elected to pull the plug on her cancer-riddled mother in some sort of revenge because her mother forced her to have an abortion at 16 after deriding her and calling her a slut for weeks. Now, I’m as horrified by matricide (though this wasn’t quite that) as the next person but this is certainly not black and white.

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“I now know she did it because she cared about me” laments the girl.

Um no, no it is not okay to for someone force you to get a medical procedure, no it is not okay for your mother to verbally and emotionally abuse you. That is not ‘care’. And the message that goes with this back-story bothers me a lot.

There is also a strange plot strand where the past talks to the present through a mobile phone that Virgil uses to communicate with the four dead teenagers who live just a few hours behind him. It doesn’t entirely make sense but it’s an interesting idea, at least as long as you don’t think about it too much.

the dwelling review

This film was previously called ‘Bed of the Dead’, and I’ll admit I prefer that title. I’m not sure what ‘The Dwelling’ refers to and it’s a far more generic title than this oddball movie deserves.

The gore and special affects are reasonably well done, and there is something quite sobering about watching people interact/argue/talk only to flash onto scenes of them as dead bodies being investigated.

It's competently shot by director Jeff Maher, though there is one scene with a shower of gore that he is clearly so impressed with that it's shot from many different angles like a cut-rate Psycho shower scene. Perhaps just settling on one reaction shot and sticking with it may have been a more prudent choice, as it’s that kind of show-offy silliness that takes an audience out of a movie.

The acting was fine, with Alysa King as Sandy making the best impression, and Dennis Andres as douche Ren doing good work here too.

The issue really is the script; too many plot strands that don’t all work as a cohesive whole, a saggy second half and some borderline misogyny in the backstory all serve to lower the score.

The Dwelling is on VOD now.

2019 movie reviews