The Dwelling review – mattress murder thriller proves a treat

Beware the killer bed sounds like a pretty stupid premise for a horror/thriller. The Dwelling takes a limited idea and attempts to do more with it. While a little clumsy at times, I appreciate a low budget horror film where the filmmakers clearly try to make an effort to do something different.

Det. Virgil (Colin Price) tries to piece together the cause of a horrific tragedy at a secret club that killed several people. Over the course of extended flashbacks we learn how they died in increasingly gruesome fashion.

the dwelling review - ren, fred, sandy and nancy

Presumably to have an orgy, four friends go to a sex club with rooms to handle their business. Little do they know their room contains a possessed bed that kills anyone who leaves it.

That’s a pretty limited premise. A house or even a room offers a little bit more opportunities for some creative kills.

With four people there’s not a lot of potential victims either. Fortunately there’s a few willing and unwilling victims that stumble into the room and get into their own trouble. Early on Sandy (Alysa King) and Nancy (Gwenlyn Cumyn) realize leaving the bed equals certain death. Naturally that means the bed starts cheating and making the gang hallucinate to get them to leave.

the dwelling review -sandy and nancy get bloodbath

A twist midway through opens the door for some promise. Co-screenwriters Cody Calahan and Director Jeff Maher lose a little of the film’s momentum paying the twist off, but it eventually works.


To their credit, Calahan and Maher try to do more than just make a stupid horror movie. There is some logic to the seemingly indiscriminate deaths. Virgil actually has a backstory that gets expanded throughout the film that also works in the larger context of the film. This also ties in to the film’s bizarre opening sequence, which makes more sense in hindsight.

As far as the deaths they’re impressive for this scale and should satisfy horror heads who want some gruesome kills. Maher clearly doesn’t have a massive budget to work with, but he uses it effectively to get the most out of the deaths.

the dwelling review - another victim claimed

The acting is horror thriller decent. No performer is actively terrible, but there’s a reason they’re in a low-budget horror/thriller. King is the best performer as she’s been a regular on the low-tier slasher circuit and carries the film fine. Price gets a little too eager at times, but he holds up his end as the detective searching for answers.

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The Dwelling is a better film than you’d assume from the synopsis. It sticks to the established rules and delivers on keeping an uneasy tone throughout. It’s worth checking out for those who like a horror film with something to say beyond the bloody kills.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment