Horror-locker Movie Review: The Room (2019)


“We do not have a fear of the unknown. What we fear is giving up the known.” – Anthony de Mello

The fresh start, the new beginning – it’s something most of us could probably use right about now. With anything new comes fear of losing what is for something that could be much worse. But for the glass half full crowd it’s potential for something amazing, a moment blinked into and out of reality in an instant or an amount of seconds stretching a lifetime; whatever the case it could be worth the greatest effort no matter the return. But this is a horror movie I’m talking about so odds aren’t exactly in the favor of happily ever after.

The Room is about possibility and withdrawing the mystery of if it can be obtained. What I mean is to achieve something, even an inanimate object takes effort, it takes time. The Room ponders the ramifications of taking away that adversity, to create a scenario where all effort and consideration is absent from the equation. Want money? Say an amount, ask for it, and voilà! Congratulations, you’re rich, with no real struggle in the process. Ask yourself this though: Have you ever heard of a get rich quick scheme? Do they ever actually work or is it a complete facade? Why would this be any different? Let me clue you in, it wouldn’t.

The scary aspect of such a lack of consequence is the eventual wall you run into as you try to think of even one more thing you might want. This leads to imaginations run wild and when that happens dark corners of unexplored thoughts soon begin to surface where combined with an absence of repercussion makes the once thought impossibility of an obstacle become something far worse than just possible. As these characters do as if human nature, they begin to consider the bigger necessities of life such as children. To take the process of conception out of the problem simply creates an entirely new nightmare far worse than contractions and shitting yourself during labor. It becomes something psychologically adverse to the point of insanity.

I believe this is what The Room had going for it, a psychological stress test with little hope of something positive coming from it. Instead, while not a terrible execution, it drags quite aggressively until its final moments. It makes you wonder if anything is going to cause a significant course change for this story and its characters with only maybe twenty minutes left in the movie. An explosion of sorts does in fact occur and it’s quite contemplative in the questions it brings up but with such a lackluster second act the third didn’t exactly have a long way to go before finding something worth telling.

The relationship between this ordinary husband and wife is desirable but at a superficial depth. They’re attractive and still relatively young, what’s not to love? It isn’t until a mistake by the husband reveals the gray hairs, the wrinkles in the cracked skin so to speak. You begin to learn of the motivations behind their decisions that would otherwise feel absolutely nonsensical. The choices they make still land in the world of bizarre but considering what they’ve been through and anyone who’s been through trauma knows that such a thing can bring people to do curious things.

Despite an interesting premise and a strong third act, the buildup is a dud of a firecracker. It smokes a bit but lacks any real bang. Olga Kurylenko is a strong, messy presence and conveys emphatically her character’s need for more than what is. Her counterpart, Kevin Janssens is adequate but often feels like the typical horror vehicle to move along the plot. It isn’t until the finale that he truly begins to shine as a complicated, integral piece of this mysterious puzzle. And speaking of puzzles, the biggest piece, the greatest question is never answered. Sometimes I’m all for ambiguity and others I would really appreciate some clarity. I’m left in the middle here wanting to know and being okay not knowing anything beyond the moral of such power without caution is a dangerous thing.

In the end, The Room is a thought worth pondering but without ever realizing its full potential as a disturbing, psychologically twisted thriller. Before long it becomes clear what’s around the bend and with that realization comes the deflation of any hopes for genuine tension. Ultimately I didn’t hate the movie, the third act definitely pulled it from the depths of typical January-like rubbish but my hopes for all it could have been were rarely met. Much like my desire to know more of the mystery behind it all, I’m left in the middle of the road, or room if you prefer.

Unrated: Features strong language, some sexual content and violence
Runtime: 100 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Kevin Janssens, John Flanders, Francis Chapman
Directed By: Christian Volckman

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: I could take it or leave it. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Shudder.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard