The Landlord (I) (2009)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
Meanwhile, Amy is having trouble of her own, juggling an adulterous relationship with her police partner, organising shady deals with a gang of local vampires, and keeping her brother from losing the plot.
Problems finally come to a head after Amy upsets her bloodsucking pals and Tyler attempts to prevent his latest tenant Donna (Erin Myers), an attractive, pregnant runaway wife, from becoming demon fodder.
One of the things I love most about horror is that it has a healthy independent scene made up of enthusiastic film-makers with almost non-existent budgets, but armed with a love of the genre and a strong enough resolve to bring their projects to life. You have to admire their spirit, even if you don't always enjoy the finished films.
Thankfully, the team behind comedy/horror The Landlord not only have the drive and determination, but also seem to have a pretty good grasp on what makes for a fun slice of entertainment: they deliver a well constructed, multi-layered story that effectively blends ghoulishness with laughs, a few reasonable visual effects, and some rather unrealistic but satisfyingly bloody gore.
The film also offers decent performances from its cast of unknowns: Dziak makes a likable protagonist, Courvais gives a particularly spirited and memorable performance, but it is Rom Barkhordar as green demon Rabisu who steals the show, hamming it up to just the right degree as he orders jerky machines and tacky statues from a shopping channel, spoons brains straight from his victim's head, and plays charades to spell out a magic phrase that he is forbidden to say.
Overall, this is a consistently engaging piece of macabre cinema that probably won't blow your socks off, but will still manage to pass the time very nicely, thank you. So if you're not too fussed about the unavoidable inadequacies inherent in today's zero-budget horror (poor sound quality, digital video picture quality etc.), I say give The Landlord a whirl.
Bizarre "demon comedy" regarding a landlord who must endure two very insatiably hungry demons demanding human tenants to feast on! Landlord Tyler(Derek Dziak) has grown tired of feeding innocents to demons, Rabisu(Rom Barkhordar) & Lamashtu(Lori Myers) and cleaning up their grisly mess afterward. Tyler's patience is certainly tested when a new tenant from the country, Donna(Erin Myers), arrives to rent a flat for two months..Tyler likes this one and isn't too keen on surrendering her to the demons desiring sustenance. Tyler's sister, Amy(Michelle Courvais, who reminds me of Ally Sheedy), a cop, has an association with the demons, and they must agree to her wishes or their prosperous relationship will come to an end. Demons, with foul, sharp teeth, are allowed to eat from the flesh of junkies, bringing Amy their dope and stocked cash. Gil and Mike(Kurt Ehrmann and Ezekiel Brown), two detectives who have been harassing Tyler due to all the missing bodies who were once occupants in his building, make the mistake of attempting to break in while he was away with Donna at a bar on karaoke night. We find out that the portal to hell is in fact located in the basement of Tyler's building! Anyway, we'll just say that Tyler's worries with the detectives will be over. Donna is running from a bad marriage, with a lousy husband she wants a divorce from..as well as wanting to abort her unborn child. Demon Lamashtu, Rabisu's missus(with a dog face!)wishes for Donna to conceive her child for lunch! Donna is trapped by Lamashtu's forcefield in her room and Rabisu does little to help her(he's afraid, to say the least). Meanwhile, Amy and her cop lover Warren(Rob McLean) kill a demon who arrived at a diner with blood dripping from his teeth and drenched on his shirt(delivering money covered in blood as well)..so clumsy, out in the open, infuriates Amy, spurning her wrath. Well a head demon doesn't appreciate the death of one of their kind, and orders Warren to "bring Amy into the fold." So Tyler must somehow rescue Donna while Amy is destined to become a demon.
Despite some budget restraints(some of the special effects are a bit rough around the edges), there's an enthusiasm and energy I found palpable. It's presented in a gleefully macabre fashion, with lots of prosthetic limb jokes(gotta love the jerky juicer and Rabisu's attempts to use it for human meat). I have an affinity for these demon comedies, and felt THE LANDLORD was very much in the vein of such cult favorites as NIGHT OF THE DEMONS & THE HAZING. We see how the demons were conjured and granted access in our world through the Sumerian incantation summoned actually by Tyler and Amy's parents..there's an interesting twist regarding how the parents correlate with Lamashtu and Rabisu as well. I will say that there's a heavy dependence on these wild optical effects using vibrant neon colors when we see magic used by Lamashtu(and this occult shop owner who knows a thing or two about spells and the dark arts). The cast really seem to be having a good time and that, I felt, rubs off on specific viewers who enjoy their comedies a bit on the black side. The co-producer, Dan Kiggins, was a regular on the IMDb horror board so I'm more than proud that he had a chance to live the dream. The demons have the "infect bite" in that when they munch into the necks of human victims, those gnawed on turn into fanged ghouls as well. And, Lamashtu and Rabisu can travel distances by "teleporting" themselves within the building.
Writer/director Emil Hyde displays a pleasingly idiosyncratic sensibility in this decidedly offbeat, inventive, and often amusing low-budget indie horror comedy outing; Hyde puts a fresh and imaginative spin on the age-old subjects of demons and vampires while mining the wacky material for plenty of deliciously oddball black humor and delivering a handy helping of suitably grisly gore. The cast play their colorful characters with great aplomb: Dziak and Courvais make for appealing protagonists, Rom Barkhordar almost steals the whole show with his delightfully robust lip-smacking turn as jolly demon Rabisu, Lori Myers snarls it up nicely as ruthless and short-tempered cat-faced distaff demon Lamashtu, plus there are sound contributions by Rob McLean as Amy's corrupt cop partner Warren, Amanda Cohen as helpful gypsy woman Baba, Kurt Ehrman as gruff, hard-nosed homicide Detective Lopez, and Brian Amidei as Amy's lunkhead husband Gary. The scenes with Tyler and Rabisu bickering with each other are positively sidesplitting. A silly infomercial for this ridiculous contraption called the Jerky Juicer and a gloriously appalling anti-abortion video are both likewise quite funny. The CGI effects are surprisingly pretty polished and impressive considering the modest budget. Phil O'Neil's crisp cinematography makes snazzy use of fades, wipes, and dissolves. Karen Sandvoss' quirky syncopated score also hits the bull's eye. The unpredictable story keeps the viewer guessing throughout. Best of all, the filmmakers show a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the horror genre that's impossible to either dislike or resist. A real hoot.
I would love to see him in more movies!!! Aside from that, the movie was entertaining and fun to watch! I am being serious though the DJ needs to get in more movies or even commercials. He is a very versatile and well rounded actor! He can play anything from drama to comedy to suspense! Someone gives this kid a job...he can play old and young which is the real hidden talent about him.