Killer Sofa is the latest in a long, and fantastic, line of New Zealand horror comedy films – think Black Sheep, Fresh Meat, Brain Dead and Bad Taste among others. It’s the story of a possessed recliner chair that kills off anyone who gets close to the girl it is infatuated with. ..yes, you read that correctly!
The film opens with a man performing a bloody voodoo ceremony,…with a weirdly anthromorphic recliner in the background. Flash forward a period of time and a removalist is at the space where the ceremony took place with instructions to collect the recliner and deliver it to Francesca (Piimio Mei). There is an address mix up and the chair is delivered to the grandfather of Francesca’s friend, Rabbi Jack (Jim Baltaxe). He touches the chair and experiences a near death experience. The chair is delivered to Francesca who begins to feel an eerie presence in her apartment, and her friends and boyfriends begin to get mysteriously hurt or disappear. Meanwhile the police, Bob Gravy (Jeb Brophy) & Rosane Grape (Stacey King) are investigating the murder of one of Francesca’s former partners and get led to the recliner. Rabbi Jack discovers that the chair is possessed by an evil spirit called a Dybbuk and then the race is on to save Francesca from her fate.
My favourite part of this movie, apart from the chair but we will get to that, is how straight everyone plays it. Bob Gravy is especially great as the recently divorced, world weary police officer who just accepts that there is killer chair on the loose, and Francesca is also good as a girl who is somewhat bewildered by the fact that so many men, and some women, get obsessively infatuated with her – including eventually Bob Gravy. The chair though is what makes this film. It is a little bit cute, a little bit spooky and gifted with the dexterity and characteristics of a much nimbler being. There are scenes where it is peeking out of a window or trying to throw a body off a balcony where the ‘What Did I Just See?!’ levels go sky high. The movie is very much a comedy horror – there are no really frightening bits, and the blood and gore level is quite subdued, with most deaths happening off screen and just a bit blood splatter to let you know what has happened. The gore that is seen is so fake that it is impossible to be grossed out. Where the movie falls a bit flat is the somewhat convoluted plot involving voodoo magic and Dybbuk spirits and Rabbi Jack. But it all comes together at the end, with a bit of twist.
Low budget, so-bad-they’re-good horror films are a genre all of their own and Killer Sofa is a great example of one. This is a perfect movie for getting your friends around to laugh and groan at, in the comfort of your own favourite chairs!
Director – Bernie Rao
Writer – Bernie Rao
Stars – Piimio Mei, Nathalie Morris, Harley Neville, Stacey King, Jed Brophy, Jim Baltaxe, Grant Kereama
Rating – MA 15+ (course language)
Running Time – 1h 21m
Genres – Comedy, Horror