THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM review

Excuse me, I need a minute to take a cold shower.

*returns a minute later*

Ahhh, much better. Sorry, but I need to pander to myself for a minute on Kate Beckinsale. She is one of my longest running Hollywood crushes, starting all the way back in 2003’s hit original action film, UNDERWORLD, which spawned three sequels. But never mind that she looks good in skin tight black leather with glowing blue eyes, sharp teeth, while holding a pair of automatic pistols- sorry, I need another cold shower.

*returns a few minutes later*

Never mind all that, I do genuinely believe that she’s a talented actress. She’s never done just one genre, she’s tackled plenty. Romantic comedy (SERENDIPITY [2001]), period drama and comedy (THE AVIATOR [2004] and this year’s LOVE & FRIENDSHIP respectively), psychological thriller (STONEHEARST ASYLUM [2014]), sci-fi, (TOTAL RECALL [2012]), the list goes on. Have all of those movies been hits or well-received? No, but it’s still something I respect. I feel like it’s so easy for an actor to stay in the genre that defines them with no real interest in broadening their craft. This is the very reason why I harp on actors like Jason Statham and Kevin Hart so much because they only ever do one character in one genre. Maybe that works for some people, but I love actors that aren’t afraid to make that transition and I think that Beckinsale does it very well. She’s one of my favorites out there and if her name is stamped on a project, I’ll be the first in line. Final note: yes, I’m FUCKING excited for UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS coming out next year.

But let’s set aside my borderline creepy crush on the star of this film, how does the actual movie look? Um… meh. I mean, I won’t say I’m not entirely intrigued, but this picture is being labeled as a horror film. I… don’t see the horror. Dark environments, old wood, and cobweb covered stones don’t necessarily amount to horror. Many would call them “tropes.” I won’t argue there. But I am interested in seeing what’s behind that damn door. So long as she doesn’t awaken a dumb-ass temple guardian more concerned about being a reject from THE RING (2002), I’ll be fine. I’m not expecting much, I just want Beckinsale to be good.

But this ain’t a one woman show, let’s take a gander at the rest of the cast. Co-starring alongside my future wife (DON’T DESTROY MY DELUSIONS!!!) is Mel Raido. He hasn’t had any big projects under his belt, or at least none that I recognize, with the notable exception of the film LEGEND (2015), which looks like he only had a bit role in. I think it’s safe to say this will be his first big project. Making appearances in the film are actors Michaela Conlin and Lucas Till. Conlin will be a familiar face to those who watch the long running TV crime show BONES, having played the character Angela. And Till will be familiar to fans of the recent X-Men films having played Alex Summers/Havok.

Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing is D.J. Caruso, having done such films as DISTURBIA (2007), EAGLE EYE (2008), and I AM NUMBER FOUR (2011), and is slated to direct next year’s XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE. Now here’s something interesting, Caruso’s co-writer is none other than actor Wentworth Miller. Most will know him from hit TV shows PRISON BREAK, THE FLASH, and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. Something else that’s kind of funny to note is this: Miller is writing this script, starring Beckinsale, and Miller had a brief role in UNDERWORLD, also starring Beckinsale. Interesting little connection there. But as for Miller’s writing background, he’s only got two titles under his belt, including this one. The last script he wrote was STOKER (2013). The films music composer is Brian Tyler. He’s done some high profile action movies, mostly Marvel properties like IRON MAN 3 (2013), THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013), and AGE OF ULTRON (2015). But more than that, he’s got a fairly big year next year, being slated for POWER RANGERS, the rebooted THE MUMMY, and returning to the Fast and Furious franchise for FAST 8. Finally, the cinematographer is Rogier Stoffers. He’s previously done films like JOHN Q (2002), SCHOOL OF ROCK (2003), and is returning to work with Caruso from DISTURBIA.

Overall, I’d say I’m going in with cautiously high expectations. I’m mostly going in for Beckinsale, but I am curious to see how Miller and Caruso craft this story. It doesn’t look spectacular, but maybe the best stuff is in the movie.

This is my honest opinion of: THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM

(SUMMARY)

After suffering through a family tragedy, Dana (Kate Beckinsale), her husband David (Mel Raido) and son Lucas (Duncan Joiner) move to the country into a large, rundown house with the intention of fixing it up to get their minds off the trauma. But their stay isn’t as smooth for Dana as it is for David when supernatural things begin to happen, particularly when Dana happens upon a room that wasn’t in the floor plans. She starts to see people that aren’t there, see things playing out that aren’t really happening, and she struggles to distinguish reality from vision and fighting the malevolent spirit messing with her.

(REVIEW)

Um… well, I got my wish that Beckinsale was good. Heh… but seriously though, it’s pretty bad.

First off, it opens like every other bad horror movie: driving on a cloudy day down an empty-ass road. The family moving from their old life to a new one. Where are they moving to? Cliché number two, a huge creepy house that everyone thinks is “cool” or in some way oogles over it. Jesus, there’s so many clichés, I’m not even sure if I can name them all off the top of my head. Only one person in the family is haunted by the spirits? Check. Everyone else thinks that one person is crazy? Check. The evil spirits can somehow haunt that one person’s dreams? Check. Yeah, it gets groan-worthy fast.

There’s also a shit-load of elements and subplots that go nowhere. For example, getting out of their home to explore their new town, they go inside a store where some woman gets teeth-grindingly excited to have newcomers. But while at first, she greets Dana and David with enthusiasm at first, she starts to show a flirtatious interest in David… out of nowhere. What happens next is… really puzzling. Why? Understand, this woman is… well, I hate to compare the aesthetics of women, as it feels incredibly misogynistic, but this woman is not attractive by comparison to the jealous Dana, who is unbelievably hot, who steps in to remind this woman that she and David are married, which really grinds the woman’s gears.

***SPOILERS***

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I think the biggest sinner is this weird relationship between Dana and Ben (Lucas Till). He’s a young man, handy at construction, who also flirts heavily with Dana. Fuck me, another one?! Whatever. Whereas the one with David and the store owner was confined to a single awkward two minute scene, this is dragged on for several scenes and isn’t any less awkward. He aggressively flirts with her. As in, seriously, you horny son of a bitch, keep it in your pants, aggressively. Although the more I think about it, maybe Till wasn’t acting in any of those scenes. Maybe he really was flirting aggressively with her and the cameras just never shut off. But never mind my jealousy, these scenes amount to nothing because she’s incredibly abrasive toward him, which he thinks is open door to his advances, she constantly turns him away, and he doesn’t take the damn hint. Since this doesn’t affect either Dana or her marriage in any way, and Ben gets killed off in a few scenes, not only is this subplot pointless, but his character is completely useless as well. There is literally nothing that he’s doing that Dana can’t do on her own. The only real purpose that Ben serves is so we learn more about Dana’s background and why she enjoys architecture so much. Riveting shit by comparison to the haunting spirits, the secret room which locked away deformed children. Clearly the focus was in the right place. *sarcasm*

You’re probably wondering why I put all of this in its own SPOILERS section. I really don’t know. This movie holds a 0% on RottenTomatoes and a 5.0/10 on IMDb. How many shits would you give by the time the credits rolled around? But I’m something of a cinematic Nazi. The kind of person who thinks no matter how good or bad a film is, spoilers are a huge no-no and ruins the spirit of movie-watching. So… this gets its own SPOILERS section.

The cardinal sin of the film is that nothing has anything to do with anything in the film. I mean, really look at the story. Dana accidentally killed her daughter by rolling on top of her while sleeping and got suicidally depressed. They moved for “new beginnings,” to get away from their old life. The attempts at adding adultery in the movie make no sense because you don’t get the feeling that there’s a strain on the marriage. You get that Dana’s distant and depressed, but not that the marriage is in shambles. They clearly love each other, so there’s no reason for that shit. As for the hauntings, these don’t have a connection either, despite what Wikipedia may say. Okay, the old family that used to live in the house kept their deformed daughter in the disappointments room and the father killed his daughter, the mother hung herself, so… what does this have to do with Dana? I suppose the “connection” is supposed to be reminiscent of how Dana feels like a failed mother like the dead daughter’s mother felt, but the audience knows bare-bones information about the mother, so who would guess that connection if you weren’t over-analyzing it? It just comes off as two stories messily jumbled together and the movie thinks that makes a coherent narrative.

And speaking of the disappointments room, did anyone see a lightbulb in that room?! I don’t recall seeing one, so how was there a light on in that room multiple times if there wasn’t a lightbulb anywhere in that room?!

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***END SPOILERS***

Beyond all that, the characters aren’t well-written, or well acted. Dana’s a general debbie-downer and kind of unlikable the way she treats people. David’s almost cartoonishly happy about his surroundings, and you have incredibly pointless camera shots of non-creepy things. How is an endless reflection shot of Beckinsale scary again? All around this movie is failure. But is there anything redeemable about it? Well, like I said, I liked Beckinsale.

Yeah yeah, I know you professional critics and snooty opinion-givers are going to call me out on my bias toward her, and you know what? Yeah, I am bias. I do think Beckinsale does a fine job in the movie. There’s this scene where David invited friends over for dinner and Dana arrives both late and drunk. She sits down and starts getting hostile and passive-aggressive with everyone, “I’m the uptight bitch, and David’s the funny one! David’s the good parent, and I’m the bad parent!” Yeah, this scene isn’t anything new, but I feel like Beckinsale was pretty sympathetic as she was angry toward her husband for mistreating the anniversary of their dead-daughter’s birthday. She seamlessly goes from being angry to remorseful and it’s actually pretty legit in my book. I know the events leading up to this scene are fucking stupid, but for as cliché as this scene is, it’s handled pretty well on Beckinsale’s part.

The sad thing is that I see this movie having potential. I do see a good story in here. Maybe if it was handled more like THE OTHERS (2001), the ghosts are already here trying to help the family cope with their losses. Like maybe the ghost of the girl’s dead mother was more reflective of Dana’s emotions, and she’s trying to help Dana cope with the loss of her daughter and make better decisions than she did when she was alive. But as Dana gets more and more depressed, the dead father’s influence becomes more powerful and it’s all based on Dana’s emotional state, this could have been a solid story. Even good. But a lack of imagination and borderline anti-emotional connection, plus a stupid-ass ending, make this movie a definite skip. Unless you’re a Beckinsale fanboy/girl like I am, I can’t recommend this movie at all. The movie more than earns its own title.

My honest rating for THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM: 2/5

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Upcoming reviews:

  • SULLY
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  • WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS
    • trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws74Ie4fMc8
  • WILD LIFE:
    • trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNCjU9VEuNc
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