Let’s get this controversy out of the way right now: The piece of demonic furniture in Killer Sofa is (big gasp)… not actually a sofa. It’s a recliner. It’s a chair. As Oxford describes it, a sofa is “a long upholstered seat with a back and arms, for two or more people.” What we see in Killer Sofa only has room enough for one person! It’s in no way, by anyone’s definition, a sofa. Why it’s been titled so misleadingly, I have no idea, but if you are looking for a murderous seat built for (at least) two, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Not the best foot to start off on, but we’ll soldier ahead nonetheless.
Director: Bernardo Rao
Release Date: October 1, 2019 (VOD)
Francesca (Piimio Mei) is having some dude problems. Guys are just too into her, stoking creepy obsessions and stalking her until she requests restraining orders. Soon, however, pieces of one such ex begin to show up, and this dancer finds herself in the clutches of perhaps her most terrifying stalker of all–a demonic recliner.
This chair, looking like some doofy reject from Pee-wee’s Playhouse, is pure evil. Sinister shots show it watching victims with its button eyes through the window or from the sidewalk. It rotates to hold its dead gaze upon Francesca as she moves through her apartment. When it senses other dude energy encroaching on its lady, however, is when this Cra-Z-Boy sets its foot rest to kill!
The sound effects for the recliner’s movements are surprisingly deep and textured and will make you feel like you’re back at your grandad’s house listening to him trying (and failing) to get the foot rest at just the right position. It’s all the grating creaks and groans of metal and springs, the squeals of furniture that’s seen better days. This sets up the recliner’s gruesome assaults, all of which are well shot and framed. The chair using a loose spring to open a bedroom window from outside is shot with the same stormy darkness as what you’d expect of Freddy Krueger’s claw. Its movement caught on security footage has the same grainy menace as watching absolutely nothing happen in a Paranormal Activity movie. Other scenes (including a bit of a sex scene involving the chair) exude a more retro flare with foggy red lighting and trippy dissolves. All in all, there’s a grounded care to the filming that plays the story just straight enough to enhance the irony of a demonic chair attempting to contort itself into the right position to throw a victim off a balcony.
Though the plot has a good number of laughs and a climactic reveal reminiscent of something straight out of an 80’s Argento film, the script does Killer Sofa little favors elsewhere.
The demon inside the chair is known as a Dybbuk, and a rabbi attempts to help Francesca exorcise the demon, but there’s not really a plan that comes together as the story loses itself in a muddy soup of voodoo, demons, and spiritual possession. It all just feels too heavy for a movie about a killer recliner and leaves little in the way of a satisfying arc for the characters or story as a whole.
After its triumphant and gory climax, the plot just sort of thuds along with its few remaining threads before ending on a note that attempts at the creepy open-ended stings of usual slashers but lands more empty and underwhelming. Unfortunately, what starts as a funny and attractive horror/comedy ends with the sensation that our demonic recliner’s hinges have finally given out with one last shuddering groan before falling totally flat.