Release Date: TBA (festival circuit)
Coming straight from Belgium, the horror capital of the universe comes the striking tale of a morally repugnant family that finds a door in their house where one wasn’t there before. It sounds intriguing, but although the idea is interesting, the execution is terrible. It plays to every cliched rule in the thriller book, and has the originality of a forgery of a bad painting.
Melinda (Caroline Veyt) is leaving home after continual abuse from her maniacal father Max (Phillipe Resimont) and shallow mother Marie (Francoise Mignon). As if she wasn’t treated poorly enough before, the torturous environment has only intensified with the knowledge of her unwed pregnancy and her refusal to say who the father is. Melinda leaves behind her wheelchair bound, mentally challenged brother Alex (Pascal Duquenne) who is scared to lose the one caring face he’s come to depend on. Her last night at home, the family finds itself confronting the mysterious door and titular room that lies behind it, beckoning them to face their darkest fears.
The laundry list of things wrong with this movie is too long to bear in one review. Plus, the movie just doesn’t warrant the time. Here’s just a few. First, writer/director Giles Daoust approaches the movie with the pretentious air of a man with no plot. As a result, The Room feels like it had a hard deadline to start filming, and Daoust failed to get past the conceptual phase. As a thriller, it has it all – a magical, mentally challenged character, black and white flashback scenes with exposed red for more significance, two guessable twist endings, and unnecessary film school camera tricks.
Two, the characters act inexplicably. There’s a fine line between interesting character choices and unbelievable ones, and The Room chooses unbelievable every time. After the movie throws away the younger brother (Maximillien Jouret-Maron) and his friend (Henri Luyckx) flippantly into the room, Max and Marie fight for a few moments to get into the door, which has locked itself, trapping the boys inside, and then resign themselves to the living room to have a good old fashioned sit. They watch some TV, get in a fight, but certainly don’t call the cops or discuss the freakish new development in their lives. In fact, they handle the supernatural situation with the same blas© that the director handles the movie.
Overall, The Room carries itself like a genre-bending, ingenious thriller with an incredible twist when it actually has nothing to offer. Daoust treats his own material as if its high art. Unfortunately, the art is stolen symbolism from other, better movies. In short, it offers nothing new creatively. It insults the audience by offering cliche and random behavior where a good film would have featured ingenuity and creative outlook. Luckily, The Room will probably never reach a wide, American audience since it’s low budget and foreign, but that should be comforting. If the slim chance arises that you have the opportunity to see it, walk away knowing that the only thing scary about it is that it every got made at all.
The Upside: It’s only 80 minutes long.
The Downside: You’ll never get them back.
On the Side: The actress slated to play the main role quit after the first day of filming.
Final Grade: F
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