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Room 6
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by Jack Sommersby

"Try Room 237 at the Overlook Hotel Instead"
1 stars

Even for the undemanding, this is one inept piece of work any way to slice it.

Badly written and about as frightening as a fly on your drinking glass, Room 6 is an alarmingly inept horror film that tries to be inventive but never manages to elicit so much as a single solitary scare to its credit. It tries and tries and tries, but the filmmakers simply aren't proficient in scaremongering -- their intentions for it are clear but their capabilities stilted. Once again we have a case where the ambition outweighs the know-how, and you're stuck watching a film spinning its wheels and not making much in the way of traction. All in all, it's a terrible film but isn't terribly made in the usual sense, so it's hard to get aghast over something that's by and large a simple artistic miscalculation.

The film involves the exploits of Amy (played by Christine Taylor) and her doggedly-determined actions to find out the location of her boyfriend. They were involved in a car accident with another vehicle, and while Amy walked away okay her boyfriend didn't; he was taken by ambulance, but when Amy goes to the nearest hospital, he's not there. This, too, goes for Lucas (Jerry O'Connell), who was in the other car and whose sister was also taken away by an ambulance; her whereabouts is unknown as well. But the viewer knows something they don't: they were taken to St. Rosemary's Hospital, where the boyfriend, Nick (Shane Brolly), is unnerved by the staff who are into taking an awful lot of blood samples and partaking in unorthodox practices. And Amy is being plagued by a series of hallucinations during her search, seeing people with monster-like faces only for these to quickly disappear. This all ties into Amy's traumatic experience in a hospital at the age of twelve; she's been terrified of hospitals ever since, and it's not until near the end when we discover what this involved.

Strictly speaking, Room 6 is competently engineered, so to speak: it's photography is moderately fine, its editing functional, and its score able enough in accentuating certain moments. But it's also bland and affectless stuff. Considering the context, Amy's hallucinations are far from scary; they simply involve a normal-looking person all of a sudden having a deformed head, with the cutting from one to the other predictable. Like William Malone in his 1999 remake of The House on Haunted Hill, here is a director salivating over making an effective horror film minus the crucial film sense of successfully bringing this off. He goes after cheap and crude effects that we've long grown used to, and due to the absence of ingenuity on his part they're left to fend for themselves -- they're ho-hum tidbits thrown out by someone desperate and not talented enough to make them stick to celluloid. We should be held spellbound throughout, dreading what devious secrets the The Shining-like hospital holds in store for us, but the overall handling is loose-goose so we're thrown out of the picture more often than not so you can practically see the chalk marks the director isn't hitting.

And the performances don't help. Taylor lacks the verity of a leading lady, going through typical A-B-C emotions and reactions with the finesse of a high-school understudy. O'Connell, usually vivid and watchable in supporting roles, is left flailing with his nothing of a supporting role here -- he's been required to act duplicitous but isn't provided the subtext to carry this off. As Nick, Brolly is similarly ill-used, though he's game and manages to install some iotas of tension to a few of his scenes. Technical credits, as mentioned, are OK, but they're contributions any mediocre hack could carry off. Room 6 is a ho-hum piece of work, one that slides off the screen while it's boring the living teardrops out of you, with the overriding reason a stunted dramatic base that never suitably taps into our fears of the unknown. A you-are-there vitality is frustratingly absent from the proceedings that deters palpitations and generates more in the way of yawns. Room 6 should be prescribed only to those whose dosage of sleep-inducing morphine isn't doing its job.

Like the Ebola virus, stay clear -- way clear.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14698&reviewer=327
originally posted: 07/15/08 12:54:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Hole in the Head Film Festival For more in the 2006 Hole in the Head Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/27/11 Severan Not as bad as people say... nice time waster. 5 stars
7/16/08 Eloise Carlson Awful film. I really didn't like it at all. 2 stars
9/22/06 Indrid Cold Could be worse. At least it starts out as a mildly intriguing mystery. 2 stars
6/12/06 Joyce This movie is ABSOLUTEOLY MINDLESS AND BORING 1 stars
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  DVD: 13-Jun-2006



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