Movie Review: ‘The Room’ (2019)
Director: Christian Volkman
Cast: Olga Kurylenko, Kevin Janssens, Joshua Wilson, Francis Chapman, John Flanders
Plot: Matt and Kate move into a secluded manor in Maryland only to discover a hidden room that will grant them anything they ask for.
Review: Not that The Room, this is a horror movie from France. It’s also not Room, the one Brie Larson got the Oscar for. This one came out in 2019 and only just arrived on my radar. It is about a room, though, one that has supernaturalish powers. And you’ll be surprised at how quickly the problems start happening.
We meet Matt (Janssens) and Kate (Kurylenko) as they move into their new home and start renovating it. We don’t spend a great deal of time with the young couple before the story gets up and running, but the actors are both talented and share strong chemistry so it doesn’t take much for us to get a handle on them and feel invested in their relationship. They have a good bit of banter about their differing world views, but clearly care deeply for one another. As they clear out the old furniture, Matt discovers a room locked behind a heavy steel door that seems to be the source of electrical problems. On being opened the room appears empty, but there’s a complex mess of wires and electrical equipment throughout the house.
With an innocuous comment about needing a drink, Matt discovers that the room will give you whatever you wish for. After summoning some genuine Van Goghs and a couple million dollars in cash he convinces Kate of the phenomenon. This prompts a fairly specular montage as the pair indulge in their every whim, summoning gourmet food and drink and remarkable treasures and designer clothing. This all occurs very early in the film, leaving us wondering where the movie is going with this idea, especially when Kate is struck melancholy by the emptiness of their immediate material goods.
Things take a real swerve with the revelation that Kate is unwilling to try for a child after two failed pregnancies. Yeah, this movie is about to get real uncomfortable because Kate summons them a child. It’s an uncomfortable situation, made all the more horrifying when Matt learns that anything created by the room is trapped in the house, and anything removed experiences rapid ageing and then decay. We are left with the question of what they’re going to do with this new child, and if they’re capable of keeping their sanity in their new perilous situation. Also in the mix is a the murderer of the house’s previous occupants locked in an asylum and exploring the full limitations of what the room can offer them.
There’s a couple of things we found refreshing about this thriller. The focus remains of the emotional torment of the characters and not cheap scares or overwrought lore. There’s very little time given to explaining how the room works of where it came from, just the downward spiral these characters find themselves in. The story gets darker and darker, creating a scenario which is genuinely unnerving.
It’s not an especially powerful or unique film, but if you want something that takes a familiar set-up in a fresh direction then it is worth taking out.
Rating: SEVEN out of TEN