Adam Mason and Simon Boyes' "The Devil's Chair" is dumb sensationalism that trusts blood-buckets dumped on thesps are enough to raise a fright.

Adam Mason and Simon Boyes caught horror fans’ attention last year with “Broken,” a harrowingly credible tale of sadistic kidnapped captivity. Their new “The Devil’s Chair,” alas, is dumb sensationalism that trusts blood-buckets dumped on thesps are enough to raise a fright, then undercuts even that via laddish, winking audience asides. Trailer has raised fanboy expectations sure to be dashed as the pic travels the fantasy-fest circuit toward territorial DVD sales.

Skinhead Nick (Andrew Howard) is seen drugging with a woman he lures to an abandoned asylum for a romantic night out. The girl winds up dead and Nick declared insane when he insists a bizarre torture chair killed her. Five years of model behavior later, he’s sprung by Dr. Willard (David Gant), who has the bright idea of unlocking Nick’s repressed memories by returning to the crime scene. Long buildup made longer by Gant’s camp hamming and the hero’s stale wisecracks finally surrenders to mayhem visited upon the Doc’s comely assistants. The eventual twist only makes the scenario seem more crassly lacking in motivational logic. Superior HD lensing, production design and mournful score are all worthy of a better showcase.

The Devil's Chair

U.K.

Production

A Renegade Worldwide production. Produced by Patrick Ewald, Adam Mason, Nadya Brand, Eric M. Breiman. Executive producer, Steven Paul. Directed by Adam Mason. Screenplay, Mason, Simon Boyes.

Crew

Camera (color, HDcam), Ole Birkeland; editors, Mason, Hasse Billing; music, Zoe Keating, Mortiis; production designer, Neil Jenkins. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 12, 2007. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Andrew Howard, Elize du Toit, Matt Berry, David Gant, Louise Griffiths, Polly Brown.

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