Does this minimalist horror film make the grade? Or is it as exciting as listening to your refrigerator hum? Read on…
The Dead Room focuses on three ghost hunters, the skeptical scientist Scott, psychic Holly, and tech wizard Liam. After a family is terrified from their home, these three are hired to perform an investigation. Sounds simple, but the film does a terrible job even setting this up. The viewer does not get to see the original family, nor do we see the discussion/hiring of these ghost hunters. It is a good twenty minutes into the film before we get a formal introduction of the characters.
The house itself is a rundown pile of garbage. The viewer is stuck here for the duration. They could have capitalized on a sense of claustrophobia if they had tried harder with the set. Flat characters and a dull setting put the movie on the wrong foot almost immediately.
What is odd is the decision to have none of the characters appear to like each other. Rudeness, smugness, and snark underline almost every interaction between the three. Making characters entirely unlikable is something that has plagued horror films in recent years. Is the idea that this somehow makes them appear more genuine? There is more to making complex characters than simply making them jerks.
Perhaps the greatest sin of this film is the complete lack of scares. The tall-man ghost that is haunting the place appears more to be a bumbling idiot than any sort of threat. The lack of any real scares make the film a complete drag. The completely absurd and predictable twist doesn’t make the film any better. In fact, the sheer predictability of the movie detracts from any possible redeeming qualities. The film doesn’t even attain the level of decency to be a popcorn flick. 3/10