Director Christian Volckman delves deeply into the greedy heart of human longing, with a twisted tale that delivers familiar dreams and new nightmares.
The old adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” is illustrated with an evil vengeance in Shudder’s Original film, The Room.
Editor’s Note: The following review contains some plot spoilers.
Where are all these super awesome houses that couples find in horror flicks? I want one! They are always gothic and incredible. And without a doubt, the new buyers will soon learn someone was murdered there. To be fair, I live in a cool 175-year-old house. And yes, someone was murdered on the front porch. But my farmhouse is not even close to the scale of coolness of the mansion in The Room.
Synopsis: When Kate and Matt leave the city to move into an old house, they discover a secret hidden room that has the extraordinary power to materialize anything they wish for. Their new life becomes a true fairytale. Yet beneath this apparent state of bliss, something darker lurks: some wishes can have dire consequences.
Kate (Olga Kurlenko) and Matt (Kevin Janssens) are the proud new owners of a stunning, fixer-upper mansion.
The isolated location is perfect for the couple, who enjoy the peace and quiet to pursue their own interests.
While moving in their stuff and throwing out a ton of broken junk oddly left behind, Matt finds an amazing looking door. When they find the key and open the door, power surges start up all over the house. Calling an electrician, they look in the basement and find the weirdest mess of wiring they have ever seen. It’s almost as if the house’s electrical system is akin to a human’s circulatory system. It runs through every part of the home in a maze of strange and dangerous-looking wires.
As the electrician goes to leave, perplexed as to what he has seen, he mentions he was surprised someone finally bought the house; didn’t they know the previous owners, the Shaeffers, were murdered here? No, of course, they didn’t. I guess, in this state, realtors aren’t required to disclose that kind of thing.
That evening, Matt accidentally uncovers the magic ability of “The Room”.
Casually wishing out loud for another bottle of whiskey, he discovers the superpower of this once-hidden space. The mystical room will give you any material thing you ask for.
The subsequent scenes, while Kate and Matt overindulge in a massive “I want” session, are hilarious and very entertaining. Champagne, sexy costumes, food, famous art, and piles of money all magically appear. They ask for everything they can imagine — in a greedy and childlike way — until finally collapsing, exhausted from their night of debauchery-filled wish fulfillment.
This should have been a great time for Matt and Kate. But deep down inside, there is only one thing they really want and don’t have: a baby. I know this sounds like a hundred other horror flicks, but hear me out.
Since they have all their material needs taken care of now, Matt asks Kate if they can try one more time to have a baby. She won’t hear it. She has already been through two miscarriages, and it’s too much for her to consider. In frustration, Matt drives away to clear his head. And what do you think Kate goes and does? Of course, she asks the room for a baby. What could go wrong?
Matt returns home to Kate and his new baby, Shane, and he is understandably terrified.
He tells Kate to have the room take the baby back. But ultimately, neither of them can say such a thing out loud.
In the meantime, Matt learns more information about the murders that took place on their new property. A boy, known only as John Doe, was arrested for the murder of the previous home owners, saying the room drove him to kill the couple. Matt visits the asylum where John Doe (John Flanders) is being kept, to see why he killed the Shaeffers. He plays the harbinger and warns Matt, advising him and his wife leave the house immediately.
I loved this character.
John Flanders did a great job making John Doe sufficiently creepy, while still giving him depth.
On his way home, Matt finds out that anything taken out of the house immediately disintegrates. The money he had in his pocket has turned to dust. The room will give you anything you want, but whatever it gives you can never leave the house.
When he tries to tell Kate the truth about their new bundle of joy, she doesn’t believe him, until she takes the baby outside and he starts aging and burning. Matt ,in a very fatherly gesture, drags them back into the house in time. But now Shane is no longer a baby. He is probably 10 years old, very attached to his mom, and creepy as hell. To stay alive, he must stay in the house forever. But like any normal kid that age, he rebels, wanting to go outside more than anything.
We watch as Matt and Kate deteriorate as a couple.
How do you take care of a child that can’t go outside? Kate does her best to love him, but neither is bonded to him in a normal way; the child isn’t really their flesh and blood. Nothing about this can go well. Could there be another way to save him, and their marriage?
I really enjoyed the story, even if it feels a bit familiar in parts. The Monkey’s Paw, Pet Sematary, Aladdin, and many Twilight Zone episodes, delve into this very subject; “Be careful what you wish for, there is always a catch.”
What made this film work well for me was the fantastic acting from both young Shanes (Joshua Wilson and Francis Chapman), as the grade school age and older teen Shane, and John Flanders as John Doe. Kate and Matt were great, too, but the kids absolutely stole the show.
Starting out as a bit of a slow burn, the last half of the film flew by at an amazing pace.
The twist ending was fantastic! It is one of those OMG moments that I love in horror films. I was so glad I didn’t think of it before it happened.
THE ROOM is an eerie and super dark film that delivers tons of tension, chills, and some creepy supernatural twists. There is enough good stuff to make it a captivating cautionary tale with a unique look at unchecked greed and selfishness, and the unfortunate consequences that often follow.
This claustrophobic film is the most-watched Shudder original film of the year and one of the most-watched original premieres in the history of the service.