A vintage bed provides an endless nightmare for two couples stuck in a terrifying, deadly hallucination that uses their darkest secrets against them.
When I read the summary of The Dwelling, it almost sounded comical. Two men and two women trapped on an antique bed? However, there is nothing funny about this 2019 film from Uncork’d Entertainment, which was written and directed by Jeff Maher.
In The Dwelling, the coolest wives ever, Sandy and Nancy (played by Alysa King, Slasher, and Gwenlyn Cumyn) treat their husbands, Fred and Ren (George Krissa and Dennis Andres, The Strain) to a night of birthday debauchery for Ren when they venture to a sex club/hotel and take in a burlesque show. It’s Ren’s idea to rent a room for the night after the show and hopefully put on a show of their own.
From the start, Sandy’s just not into the sexual vibe of the entire evening and seems uninterested in both the burlesque show the group took in and the impending orgy Ren is eagerly awaiting. Ren, meanwhile, is hoping for some fun since he called in advance to make sure a room would be open after the show. However, the hotel ends up being full when they try to get the key from the front desk.
After some arm-twisting, the clerk, Elsie, (Samantha Cole) reluctantly sends the birthday bash to the unfortunate Room 18, even though you can tell this room is not meant to be rented. It’s clear Room 18 hasn’t seen any action in a while, sexy or otherwise, as Sandy, Nancy, Ren, and Fred take a look around at the dusty, dingy space. Sandy is immediately drawn to the beautiful antique bed, which sits ominously in the center of a room where most of the furniture is covered with sheets. It’s like she knows from the get-go that something isn’t right.
It’s clear from the start that the bed isn’t going to let anyone have any fun.
Nancy is the first to experience a scare so bad that she can’t go through with their sexual encounter after all, despite the fact that she seemed up for the challenge. Sandy senses her unease and decides to pull the plug. The boys are obviously disappointed since they’d envisioned a vodka-fueled orgy with each other’s wives. The freaked-out Nancy decides she’s tired and curls up to sleep. It’s clear Sandy is just fine with that, and also calls it quits for the night.
What happens next is a terrifying journey fueled by images and hallucinations tailored to each person that only they can see and nobody else can.
The bed is hiding a secret, and each person has to figure out what it is or they won’t make it out of this evening alive. What Christine is to cars, The Dwelling is to beds. Once a bad entity possesses an object, it seems to take on a mind of its own, and this bed is no different.
This film is fast-paced and quick-moving, which keeps the tension going and never loses your interest.
Sandy’s terror is conveyed well, and you feel like you’re on a never-ending acid trip with her as she and Nancy try to call for help once they can use a phone. This movie also uses a cool time fluidity plot device that adds more to the urgency and drives the story forward. The audience sees what’s happening in a series of flashbacks, but it’s not what you think. A unique time paradox allows for communication with the foursome in the future, which gives the plot a sense of quickly impending doom as the countdown to the past meeting with the present continues through the film.
A police officer, Virgil (Colin Price), tries to do what he can to save the party, but it’s up to one character to ultimately figure out what the bed’s motives are for who lives or dies and escape its deadly grasp before it’s too late and the future comes to pass.
The Dwelling is a statement on morality, being a good person versus a bad one, and on honesty, so the summary may sound simplistic.
But The Dwelling digs a lot deeper than you’d imagine and has a spooky ending that leaves you ultimately unsettled.
There’s no closure, which adds to the terror.
While there’s not a lot of superfluous gore in this film, there are a few scary, bloody scenes which are done well, though I do wish the bed monster was a little scarier. This is a fun, creative story that showcases how even furniture can retain evil when it has a haunted history, and is apt to make you think about antique shops in a whole new light!