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Jaco Van Dormael
Michèle-Anne De Mey,
Alex is a man with Down syndrome, stuck in a wheelchair since a mysterious fall. Alex is traumatized by his parents: Max, a frustrated composer turned completely mad and violent; and Marie, a cold and hysteric woman. Alex's only friend is his sister Melinda, who's been taking care of him for years. But Melinda, 9 months pregnant, is also maltreated by her parents and about to leave the family home to start a new life - leaving Alex behind. At the peak of the family crisis, a mysterious door appears in the house, at a place where there was nothing before. And everyone who enters it disappears in a terrifying scream. The members of the family discover they're trapped in the house - every exit seems unnaturally locked - and they start disappearing in The Room one after the other. Due to these terrifying events, the family will have to face their most terrible secrets, which will almost make them kill each other. But what mystery is hiding inside The Room?Written by
I should probably start by saying that I knew very little about this film going in. I knew that there was a family and in their home was a mysterious door that remained locked at all times.... just like the bedroom door in my house... So I threw the DVD in with bated breath and within minutes, I was as comfortable as Fred Krueger during a coffee shortage. Why? Because the film opens with a kick-ass steady cam shot that moves through the house introducing all of our main characters and the rooms they'll be playing in. All in one take! Yep. I knew I was in good hands, and it only gets better, people.
It's hard to talk about the plot of THE ROOM, because it's all about what you don't know; however, I can give you a little something to chew on. I mentioned the door, but what I didn't tell you is that it appears out of nowhere. All the characters and the audience know is that it wasn't there five minutes ago, it's locked and nearly every square inch has letters carved into it Now this dysfunctional family must solve the mystery of the door before they end up killing each other. (Yes, they're not the happiest group of people and there's a crap load of stuff going on with them, but we need to leave it at that.)
If you know me by now, then you know that my favorite films are usually written and directed by the same filmmaker, as it is in this case. When one person shoulders the task of bringing their own material to life, you almost always get that "magic" that is otherwise hard to accomplish, and by "magic" I mean a clear vision for the material. Writer/director Giles Daoust proves once again that my theory is correct. THE ROOM has that unique stamp of somebody who knows exactly what kind of story he wants to tell. One example: when we view flashbacks in the story, every color is stripped from the film with the exception of red. When we see this color scheme we know we are in the past. That's just one M&M in a king size bag of originality. (Huh?? Well, okay it sounded good to me!)
The script is exceptional, but from the beginning it doesn't take a NASA scientist to figure out that THE ROOM is more of a thriller then a straight horror movie. I'm not even sure if it's a thriller - maybe a drama? Aww, screw it; it's a little of everything, I suppose. But let's talk about that cast. No joke here people, this film contains some incredible acting and great characters. I was drawn to two of them, especially mainly because of the actors themselves. The first being Melinda, played by Caroline Veyt. Not only can Caroline act amazingly well, but she is beautiful, sexy and most intriguing. Her eyes are so striking, they practically jump off the screen at you. The kind of eyes that you want to cut out, and wear on a chain around your neck. Very intriguing girl, that Caroline.
The other is Max, played by Philippe Résimont. He's a frustrated composer who is clearly ticked off at the world because things have never gone his way. He can't sell a piece of music to save his life; he despises his mentally challenged son; he hates his daughter because she's pregnant and won't divulge the father's name, and is basically disgusted by his wife 24/7. Yep, he has a few problems. But what makes him so interesting to me is that you never know what he's going to do. One minute he's cracking jokes, usually at the most inappropriate times (genuinely funny jokes though) and then the next minute he's hitting his wife in the face. Nice! You never know what to expect from him, or the shifting dynamic of this group of characters.
The last point I want to make is about the door itself and the 'alternate reality' associated with it. Obviously, the idea of a door appearing from thin air is completely impossible, but I still found myself engrossed in the situation and story. I would have bet all the money in the world that the door really existed and I think this is attributed to Giles' deadly serious approach to the material. The whole film relies on the believability of these characters and the situation they're in, and if you're not invested in it right from the start, then the film goes completely to crap. Every element of film-making here - from the set design to the music - is excellent, making it work as well as it does. I also had to know what the hell was behind that door. What could it be? Eventually we get the answer and it IS horrifying. Good pay off there.
You can probably tell I enjoyed this very much. It's not often when I experience something as completely original. If you enjoy atmosphere, great characters and cool imagery then this one's a must-see. But remember, THE ROOM is far from being your traditional horror movie, so if that's what you're looking for you've come to the wrong room. Uh, I mean place.
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