A killer reclining chair becomes enchanted by a girl and starts committing crimes of passion.
As stunt titles go, Killer Sofa, directed by Bernie Rao (Ina) is up there with Snakes on a Plane, Sharknado, and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies. The film’s artwork, which is likely right above this very review, spread like wildfire through the interwebs, with people discussing the film’s lurid potential with the same tenacity as they did for The Velocipaster. Yet, whilst Brendan Steere’s film about a priest turned dinosaur offered up more than we could possibly have hoped for, Killer Sofa doesn’t seem to be doing its own concept justice.
Set in New Zealand, the film follows Francesca (Piimio Mei), a dancer with a long history of attracting inappropriate boyfriends. In fact, we meet one of her ex-beaus at the start of the film, performing a strange black magic ritual before being sacrificed. You know, the usual incel activity. Comforted by her best friend Maxi (Nathalie Morris, Black Christmas), Francesca splurges on a recliner to lift her spirits. Unbeknownst to her, however, said recliner is actually a dybbuk, a malicious spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. Whilst Francesca congratulates herself on a bargain, ex-rabbi Jack (Jim Baltaxe) runs around town trying to find the demonic furniture.
Just reading that will make you think that Killer Sofa is as mad as a box of frogs and to some extent you’re right. It’s a film which sees a recliner stalk its prey like an oversized muppet and later, try to get it on with its new owner. Sadly though, whilst these moments stand out, the rest of Killer Sofa is incredibly dry and played so straight you wonder if everyone is in on the joke. Whilst this worked extremely well for something like Tyler Cornack’s Butt Boy, Killer Sofa seems to be doing its best not to make you crack a smile. It’s like Rao is somehow embarrassed by his creation, that Killer Sofa is merley a quick way to get noticed before going onto bigger more artistic expressions. This is unlikely to be the case, but there’s no other way to explain why the film is so determined to make us take a blood thirsty recliner seriously. Perhaps that is the joke! We, the audience, demand so much that we take it for granted that a chair is pushing people into ovens. If a doll can push a woman out of a window in Child’s Play and we don’t bat an eyelid, why can’t we do the same for Killer Sofa.
This is by no means a suggestion that the film has to tip into overcooked absurdity. While this throw everything at the wall and see what sticks works for some films – Hello again, Velocipaster – it can be downright annoying elsewhere. Films like Pool Boy: Drowning Out The Fury, which don’t so much give you a nod and a wink, but bludgeon you with a Glaswegian kiss in order for you to understand that they are crazy with a capital K and several Zs. No, that kind of filmmaking is not what we’re after. What we’re after is a good time and Killer Sofa seems reluctant to give us that.
Other issues arise in the overstuffed plot which takes into account reincarnation, Judaism, demon possession, murder, stalkers, police procedures, voyeurism and bargain furniture. Pushing the 80-minute mark means Rao simply doesn’t have time to cover everything he clearly wants to, leading to an unsatisfying ending where the film feels like it just can’t be bothered anymore.
Obviously, your mileage will vary. There have been numerous films about inanimate objects becoming blood thirsty, such as Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, The Refrigerator and Rubber. If any of those tickled your fancy, then by all means take a stab at Killer Sofa. However, for everyone else, you may want to take a pass on this and just appreciate the artwork. Aaaah, art.