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A mother and her young son release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home.
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The Disappointments Room movie full length review - Botched Gothic horror effort
"The Disappointments Room" follows an architect (Kate Beckinsale) reeling from a family tragedy who moves into a remote mansion in upstate New York with her husband and young son to restore it.
She uncovers a hidden room in the house that does not appear on the floor plans, and begins experiencing increasingly disorienting visions of the home's original owners.
I have to admit that I was fairly excited by the trailers for this film; it promised nothing groundbreaking, but appeared by all accounts to be an at least entertaining Gothic throwback?and I'd assume the script would lead one to a similar assumption, but the film unfortunately is something of a self-sabotaging effort.
It starts out briskly and glides through the typical haunted house fare?family arrives at old mansion, wife notices strange things immediately off the bat; she may be unstable, or the husband may be oblivious; the child is in imminent danger. These tropes are thrown at the audience in succession throughout the first act of the film; enter the second half, and the film seems to turn on its head. The plot regarding the history of the secret room and the apparent spirits in the house is sidelined, and suddenly the film becomes an anemic psychological study of a broken woman. The intrigue?or at least what little there was of it?for all purposes disappears.
The last forty minutes of the film especially are marked by awkward, amateurish editing choices that break any sense of flow, and a frankly ho-hum performance from Beckinsale. This isn't to say she's a bad actress, but she certainly seems bored here. The husband character is essentially useless in the film, and Lucas Till comes in as a sexualized handyman in the last thirty minutes, far too late to introduce a character that is apparently supposed to have some significance to the plot. By the end of the film, I was wondering where the narrative was attempting to take me?through the journey of a traumatized woman? Through a family that's falling apart? Through a haunted house? I still don't quite know, as the film fails to commit to any of the above in a genuine way. The last scene ties things together in a neat package, but there is no sense of relief or catharsis.
Overall, "The Disappointments Room" was a letdown (yes, I'm going to avoid the pun). In spite of the wonky editing, bad pacing, and general lack of narrative direction, the worst part of it all was that I honestly feel there is a good film somewhere in here; not an innovative one, or even a great one, but at least a good one? one that is capable of delivering a straightforward Gothic horror story without imploding on itself. One of the few things the film gets right is the atmosphere, and its most noteworthy scene comes at the end in the form of a disturbing Victorian-era flashback. Aside from that, "The Disappointments Room" is a lost opportunity. 4/10.