The Disappointments Room (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Horror
Director: D.J. Caruso
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 89 minutes

The Disappointments Room (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
4.1
Good: Great writing for Dana Barrow
Bad: Very slow paced
User Score
3.0
(2 votes)
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Rating: 3.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Great horror movies base themselves around facts that are consistent in their lore, like ‘It’, where the clown returns every 27 years and the second iteration was released 27 years after the first one in real life. They can also be based on real life events like ‘The Disappointments Room’. Usually when looking up events of horror movies that claim to be based on ‘real life events’, most of the movies come up with nothing more than just plain bogus. The Disappointments Room however doesn’t. Though there are some liberties taken for the cinematography’s sake, They aren’t totally grating or don’t detract from the fact too much.

The Disappointments room

The Disappointments Room can be called a lot of things, but certainly not a commercial for how soothing living in Brooklyn, New York is, seeing as Dana Barrow (Kate Beckinsale), David Barrow (Mel Raido) and their son (Duncan Joiner) basically flee the city to come to their senses and be able to calm down.

They couldn’t have picked up a better spot for it than an old manor in the countryside, right? What could go wrong? Apart from the fact that in the 19th century a lot of iffy things happened, and the house the family moved into isn’t an exception. So when Dana finds a room that isn’t listed on the blueprints and starts seeing things, it becomes apparent that she’s on her own and has to make sense of what she’s seeing, or she, her husband and her son won’t live long enough to tell the tale.

One thing can be said about the beauty of the story, where the writing shines, is Dana Barrow’s strong independent womanhood. She’s an architect and the movie doesn’t waste time making it clear that the husband doesn’t do much other than just sit around the house and entertain the kid while playing on his Xbox. It’s actually quite a refreshing take on the whole horror movies where women are usually the victim. Later on in the movie she holds herself strong verbally against two men, making it clear she knows her business.

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Problems start arising when comparing the stellar writing around the Dana Barrow character, with the other characters, making every other thing that comes out of the other actors’ mouths not so great. The movie is slow, bland and boring and the open ending twist at the end is cliche as all hell. It’s like ‘The Disappointments Room’ wasn’t sure on which horse to bet to make it interesting. “Are we going for the supernatural element” “I don’t know it would conflict with how close we want to stick to the source material.” “Yeah but, we can’t do without it because that would turn it into a rather boring documentary.” “We could do it both where the viewer doesn’t know where reality ends and the psychological horrors start.”

The problem there lies in the fact that there isn’t enough emphasis on any aspect. There’s little on the psychological horror and a rather lacklustre one when it comes to the supernatural. It’s a missed opportunity, If the directors had chosen to go either way, things could have worked out rather well, but they didn’t and the resulting mess shows their inability to bite the bullet and pick a side. As it stands now, there’s a room that’s discovered in the house that’s not on the blueprints and it holds a secret so dark it starts eating away at the family and their mental state.

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On the acting side, Kate Beckinsale takes the cake again. She’s the only memorable persona in the whole movie. The father comes across as spineless and the child is completely forgettable. The acting isn’t exactly bad, but the actors are locked out of a really great performance by the rather shoddy writing, which is a shame. At one point there was a scene with Dana talking to Lucas and the conversation felt so shoe horned in. She tells her son how sorry she is. He replies with the exact wording that moves the plot along. Not with: “Why mommy? I didn’t mind the carrots on my plate.” or “I don’t mind wearing my red shirt.” He replies with: “It’s OK, mommy, accidents happen.” There’s any number of things that the mother could be apologizing for and yet he finds out the meaning behind her words immediately, which should come across as uncanny, but feels more like highly unlikely.

When it comes to the music, ‘The Disappointments Room’ doesn’t clear any gold medal either. The soundplay isn’t consistent when it comes to the volume. At one point the actors might the talking and it sounds barely audible only for the scenery to change and the volume jumps up a notch.

THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM

The Disappointments Room has left another box unchecked because there are no extras. Though most people won’t bother with a director’s commentary or deleted scenes or alternate endings, having them isn’t a bad thing in any case. It might help viewers make more sense behind certain scenes in the movie.

Conclusion

Kate Beckinsale is the name on the box that should sell this movie big. And if the movie wasn’t as slow paced as it is now, then it would be a surefire hit and should be in any horror fanatic’s collection. As it is now, there are other movies that have tackled similar scripts better and with decent writing for every character, not just the big name ones. Watch this movie if you’re out of b-movie horror flicks.

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The Disappointments Room (DVD) - Movie Review, 3.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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