I usually try to avoid micro-budgeted horror comedy movies. Not because of poor acting or budgetary reasons, but because most of them just flat out suck, and we all know how painful a bad comedy can be. Why do most of them suck? Because they think buckets of no budget gore, bad jokes, toilet humor, and obvious homages will get them by. So, while I wasn't blown away by it, I did find Emil Hyde's "The Landlord" to be slightly refreshing, as it's humor is more of the dry, often times dark variety.
Meet Tyler (Derek Dziak.) He's a nice guy who just happens to be cursed to work for a demon haunted apartment building possessed by Rabisu (Rom Barkhordar) and Lamashtu (Lori Myers.) Well, things start to look good for him when Southern gal Donna (Erin Myers) enters his life-except for the fact that her ex is in town. Oh, and Rabisu and Lamashtu have plans for her unborn child.
As I said, "The Landlord" didn't quite blow me away. For one thing, while I appreciate the dry humor on display, the more serious moments come off as awkward, with the disgruntled ex and a flashback to Tyler's past in particular not working. There's also a really unnecessary sub-plot revolving around Tyler's sister Amy (Michelle Courvais) and a gang of vampires. There's really no point to this sub-plot, and it really shows the films biggest weakness: it doesn't really know how to balance humor and drama, and tends to throw in unneeded plot elements into the stew. Also, I really didn't care for the score from a band called The Mystechs, which really jarred on my nerves.
That out of the way, there are things I like about this. The make-up effects are shockingly good for a movie with an $18,000 budget, as are the performances. Barkhorder in particular steals the show as the Hawaiian shirt loving Rabisu, who at times is more like a terrible roommate than he is an evil demon, especially with his tendency to use Tyler's credit card. Oh, and I did get some good, hearty laughs out of this, mostly from Rabisu, but also from scenes like a botched robbery. It's nice to see a movie that actually pays attention to its humor instead of just throwing things on the wall to see if they stick.
In the end, "The Landlord" is a movie that only works 50 or 55% of the time, and has too many unnecessary sub-plots for it's own good. That out of the way, it's still better than a lot of the micro-budget horror comedy movies I've seen, and for that, it deserves some props.