Watching Neil Marshall’s (ahem) descent from action horror pioneer to low grade fluff has been a painful process to watch. Ever since he hit the ground running with werewolf, military action thriller, Dog Soldiers and swiftly followed this with the female empowered cave shocker, The Descent, I’ve been eagerly awaiting his next big moment to arise. Instead, we’ve seen him slowly repeat similar incarnations of these movie highlights in a decline into lesser quality. That’s not to say there hasn’t been glimmers of hope, especially with his foray into the Game of Thrones series, and perhaps it’s this that keeps on bringing me back. I should have known to be cautious however following his previous venture The Reckoning, a sadly lacking tale of witchery and persecution.
Which brings us to The Lair, an amalgamation of the aforementioned Dog Soldiers and The Descent, but instead of remote Scotland as its setting, we find ourselves in Afghanistan. And instead of werewolves or The Crawlers; cave dwelling humanoids, our protagonists come face to face with souped up human/alien hybrids that are being tooled as biological weapons.
Charlotte Kirk returns as Marshall’s kick-ass muse (as well as a writing credit) to take on our heroine Lt. Kate Sinclair. Sinclair, along with a handful of militants and an Afghan hostage, seek refuge in a bunker facility to escape confrontation only to come into conflict with the beasts below.
So far, so promising right?
The issue comes in its delivery. Yes there are action sequences on display, and a couple of typical one-liners that make you groan, the collaboration of a mix-match group, strung together to fight a common cause are all on display, but there’s nothing new on show. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is incredibly two-dimensional and clunky when delivered. When the tension shifts, the audience struggles to connect as a result and are left trailing along to what becomes a predictable and tired conclusion.
Neil Marshall’s descent into woeful movies continues to sink into greater depths. Average action, a worn out narrative, and ropeable dialogue only adds weight to his plummet.
- Saul Muerte
The Lair is currently screening on ShudderANZ