Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Melanie Donihoo, Jovan Jackson, Jame Lemarr, Morgan McCarthy
Directed by Mel House
Lovecraft’s world isn’t an easy thing to capture on screen whether you have a huge budget or, in the case of Closet Space, one that pretty much only allows you to shoot in one location. Sometimes by trying too hard, filmmakers end up shooting themselves in the foot and coming up with something that looks far worse than their budget should have allowed but there are times, few of them, when the concept of capturing a world of dark, tentacled, ancient creatures is handled just right by all involved.
For the most part, I was happy to discover, Closet Space was one of the latter group. Sure, some of the makeup is questionable and the effects can, at times, be a bit dodgy, but the film’s got its heart in the right place and never tries to hit some ambitious but unattainable level with this budget.
The story finds some grad students being invited out to home in the middle of a seemingly isolated field, told by one of their friends that their professor, who’s been gone for weeks on one of his frequent expeditions, has found something amazing there.
And indeed he has. You see, their professor has found … a closet.
But not just any closet, oh no; this is a closet that defies all laws of physics by containing a very, very long hallway, down which their lies a T intersection and even more twists and turns from there. Since the professor hasn’t been heard from in days, and there’s a lot of footage showing his team going in and out of the closet, they figure something must’ve gone wrong and push forward to investigate.
Meanwhile one of the new team’s girlfriends decides she wants nothing to do with all this creepy science stuff and traipses off on her own. Of course she doesn’t make it too far (check out her death in our Broadband section!), but the next day she’s back at the house, more willing than ever to go along with the teams’ plan for finding whatever lies beyond the closet. Damn shifty women!
So our explorers go in and get a helluva lot more than they bargained for; I seriously doubt any of them had any idea what to expect, but it’s not what they do end up finding, that’s for sure. I won’t give away too much, but suffice it to say there are some tentacles involved and an entire race of creatures eager to make their way into our world.
Closet Space is not the mythos in the most traditional sense; you can tell director House had the basic concept of Lovecraftian creatures in mind but not the budget to pull them off right, so he used the “less is more” approach, and it works really well for the most part. The crew at Oddtopsy FX are responsible for the gore, which isn’t as plentiful as you think but is quality, if not sometimes obviously low-budget, work when you do see it.
What really surprised me about Closet Space, though, was how smart it was. I mean, sure, we’re dealing with grad students here but they’re not the typical horror movie college students ™ ; these are people who are excited about what they do and are eager to learn as often as possible, not just fuck around drinking and trying to have sex with one another, though that does happen to a degree. Some of the dialogue gets a bit heavy at times, mainly you can see that Mel and crew wanted to be sure the audience got the uniqueness of the situation, but it never gets to the fast-forward point, thank Dagon.
So yeah, Closet Space has issues that almost all first-time low budget features do, but the subject matter, intellect of the characters and solid pacing place it a step above the rest of the indie schlock that’s out there. I really hope this leads to bigger and better things for everyone involved (yes, even the cast were good!) and they learn from what minor issues Closet Space did have; I can see them doing some truly kick ass stuff in our genre down the road and Closest Space is a damn good start!
3 1/2 out of 5
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