Before turning to horror comedy with his Caesar & Otto movies, which I blogged about here, director Dave Campfield made a low-budget indie horror thriller originally called Under Surveillance. It was released on DVD as Dark Chamber, so I gave Under Surveillance a peek!
A cute young man named Justin moves in with his father, leaving his mentally unstable mother, played by Desiree “Aunt Martha” Gould. Little does she know Angela is living in one of the apartments in the father’s house. Indeed, Felissa Rose is one of the tenants in the movie! But sadly, Angela and Aunt Martha never cross paths.
So Justin’s father is a hardened detective trying to solve murders he believes are linked to a satanic cult. Meanwhile, Justin and his buddy have a bizarre experience during a two-man sleepover (not that kind of experience) and become convinced there is a killer living in one of the apartments. In (front of the camera) steps director Dave Campfield, playing an asshole buddy who suggests they put spy cams in all the apartments.
The trio sure gets a show! Their stakeout watching the monitors and witnessing the daily weirdness that goes on behind closed apartment doors brings to mind Ira Levin’s Sliver. There’s a (hot) guido seemingly keeping his girlfriend an emotional prisoner. There’s a big sleazy guy who hires women to come over for some kinky sex (including scream queen Raine Brown in a cameo). And there’s Felissa Rose, who kicks her bizarro sister out of the apartment regularly to bring home guys for “massage therapy.” I know. Why doesn’t the sleazy guy just hire Felissa? I thought it too.
While Dark Chamber is a thriller, Dave Campfield’s comic side comes through. The stakeout scenes and the trio’s reactions to what they see are actually quite funny at times, as is Felissa’s scene in which she brings two guys home (and gets them both shirtless, by the way). And horror fans will appreciate the trio’s plan to pass out “I know what you did…” notes to catch the killer.
Sure there are some knife-wielding creeps in freaky masks, but the best suspense moments in the movie come from the trio sneaking into the apartments and sitting in a dark van at night. When Dave Campfield the actor goes to check out a camera that is down, Dave Campfield the director shows us his ability to create a scene that makes your heart pound.
This may have been Dave’s first—and only—attempt so far at a serious horror thriller, but he definitely knows how to create an intriguing scenario loaded with twists and turns, red herrings, tension and atmosphere, and he does it old school—no nudity or extreme gore! I love the Caesar & Otto films, but I hope Dave takes another crack at serious horror eventually (after we get Caesar & Otto Halloween movie, of course).