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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Review: The Dwelling

Director: Jeff Maher
Screenplay: Jeff Maher and Cody Calahan
Year: 2019

“The Dwelling”, also known as “Bed of the Dead”, made its rounds in the world of movie festivals during 2016. For some reason, not much was known about this movie until now in 2019, where during the month of June it was released in Canada and now in November will be released in the United States. In this new coming it drops its original name, much more descriptive of what happens in the movie but more mundane at the same time, and takes the name “The Dwelling”  that is more symbolic and attractive.

In “The Dwelling”, two couples go to a sex club to celebrate the birthday of one of them. The room they get has an antique bed that is haunted and those who come in contact with it start having hallucinations and die violently. All of them start fighting the hallucinations while the power that lives in the bed starts claiming their lives one by one. 

The director Jeff Maher and co-writer Cody Calahan (“Antisocial”) present an interesting concept. It is frightening that an object that represents peace and rest (or fun) as it is a bed can be turned into something so intimidating and sinister, making those who come in contact with it suffer horrible hallucinations that eventually lead to awful deaths. At the same time, they make good use of the topic of haunted objects to create visuals as interesting as they are horrific. 

One of the problems that this movie has is that the plot is hard to understand at first glance because little background information is given about where does the bed comes from and what it represents. With the little background information that is presented, the viewer is forced to tie loose ends to understand what’s going on and this is not something done on purpose or that has any sort of reward later. This is worsened by the fast pace with which the plot is presented without spending much time to flesh out the development.

As what happens with the plot, there is little background information about the characters and the viewer is forced to speculate about their personalities and motivations. Not knowing much about the characters, their hallucinations and how they are affected by them don’t have the desired impact, even when they are visually well done. The weak development of the characters points out that most of them are only a part of the story to increase the number of victims and that there were never plans to develop them. 

The deaths and hallucinations are the best part of this movie. Maher and Calahan make good use of this eternal globalized fear of what may live under your bed to create tension and eventually creative violent deaths. Although in general, these sequences are good, in some of them the visual effects are poor and make echo of the limitations in the budget.

“The Dwelling” interestingly becomes confusing by sharing little background information, but it manages to keep itself coherent when it breaks the space and time barriers for making the effects of the power of whatever haunts the bed more intense. It presents a story that even while it’s confusing, it’s as interesting as it is terrifying. It’s worth watching for its concept but being aware of its limitations and what it pretends to be.

“The Dwelling” will be available on November 26 in digital platforms and DVD by Uncork’d Entertainment.

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