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‘Lair’ review: Poor execution ruins potentially fun horror movie

Who’s the real monster?

Lair is a horror movie that has some neat ideas that are hampered by poor execution. After viciously killing his wife and son, Ben Dollarhyde tells his friend Steven Caramore it is the result of demonic possession. Caramore is skeptical, but is blamed for the murders and forced to investigate the claims. His elaborate ruse drags a fracturing family into a terrifying battle for survival.

It is a nice set up that is immediately limited by Caramore. The paranormal researcher seems to be set up to be the main character. He does not look especially heroic and he makes horrible one liners at the most inopportune times (“You have a lot of problems – aside from your hair.”), but this can be overcome. What is a little more difficult to accept is he is manipulative, selfish, and just generally creepy.

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Thankfully, his role becomes diminished as Lair progresses. He is still an important part, but gets much les screen time. His time is spent watching a family he is renting a London flat out to. He has filled their apartment with secret cameras in hopes of finding something supernatural. This is the problem number one. He comes off as less of an investigator and more of a creep. The is underscored when he sees his tenants having alone time and talks about how he prefers his women (or maybe he means lesbians?) Dutch or German. To make things even worse, this is running commentary for himself.

The plan becomes even stranger when he begins breaking into the all female household leaving supposed cursed items. At least that seemed to be the initial plan. This ends fairly quickly making it seem like Caramore is just watching the women for his own pleasure. All of this could have been solved with some minor tweaks. Caramore’s methods could have been less intrusive and he could have tried to help the family instead of leaving them to fend for themselves. He even could have just checked on the family occasionally instead of watching the couple in their most intimate moments.

What good ideas are in Lair are poorly executed. The final act of the movie is told in a weird pseudo-flashback that exists only as a way to shock with its admittedly neat twist. The reveal would have been just as effective if it were done during the course of the plot. Instead, it ends up being as disappointing as the rest of the film. At least the creep factor is gone by this point.

Lair comes to VOD November 9

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