Saturday, November 20, 2021

Lair Review: Strong Leads and Unsettling Start

Release date: November 9, 2021
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Adam Ethan Crow
Cast: Corey Johnson (Steven), Oded Fehr (Ben), Alexandra Gilbreath (Wendy), Sean Buchanan (Det. Pitt), Aislinn De'ath (Maria), Kashif O'Connor (Ola), and newcomers Anya Newall (Joey) and Alana Wallace (Carly)

When Ben Dollarhdye is accused of murder, saying he was possessed by a demonic force, Steven Caramore investigates his friend's claims, setting off a chain of events that forces a young family into a terrifying battle for survival.

Lair has a suspenseful start that sets the tone very well.  This horror movie focuses on demonic possession, with a hint of voyeuristic intentions.  The main characters are in a sort of experiment, to see if ghosts are real.  This causes some suspense as you wonder what will happen next and if they will become victims of this strange experiment.  And the characters are generally well done.  I especially liked seeing a lesbian couple as the main characters in a horror film.  It seems that more and more films are coming out with diverse protagonists, and Lair continues this trend with a set of strong female leads to propel this horror movie forward.  

But although Lair starts off interesting, the film does have some odd quirks.  For example, although the writing is generally fine, there are some instances with odd lines or character turns. And the film starts off as a demonic possession type movie, but then changes into a very different type of haunting film.  I didn't love this for a few reasons.  For one, it caused the movie to escalate very quickly after a long setup of this scenario.  And this move from possession to haunting causes the situations to just be too different to feel related.   And this caused the type of situation to not match up with the introductory scene.  The whole concept behind why this family is being observed in this apartment just feels too disconnected from the initial scenario to make sense.  And although the film escalates quickly, it kind of goes off the rails in the end.  It seems like the film wants to try and go for a shock ending rather than one that seems consistent with the film.  

Lair has strong LGBTQ protagonists, a slow build up, and a decently unsettling setting that are let down by the story's disjointed nature and attempt at a shock ending.  

Rent it.

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Lair is available digitally and on demand on November 9, 2021.  

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