When a film with this title, opens with scenes to the trailer which are eerily similar to Marion Crane’s arrival at the Bates Motel, and has been given an MPAA “R” rating- you know the narrative promises thrills, drink spills and chills galore.
The premise of D.J Caruso’s film is a classic: a young family move to a new house in the middle of nowhere to escape the claustrophobia of urban life seeking A New Start. The idyll does not last long when the mother starts to explore her new home, and quickly becomes immerse in investigating a mysterious room not indicated in the blueprints for the house. Soon, she begins to suffer from terrible visions and hallucinations as a wavering voice begs his mother not to allow herself to become sick again.
Again. “Again” begs the questions of why the family has had to move to a new home, away from people, and find a means of beginning a new life. Has this happened before? What was the nature of the mother’s sickness, and how bad was it that her young son and worried partner are both anxious that she does not suffer a relapse?
Kate Beckinsale takes the lead role as supernaturally perturbed Dana, and throughout the trailer we see her framed with different modes of capturing perception. These items visually encapsulate and exaggerate the emerging narrative theme of reflection and interrogation: the camera with which she photographs her new home; the statue which the trailer seems to project some form of identification with broken or disfigured objects; mirrors which cast infinite reflections of Dana staring into herself; broken mirrors where the illusion of completion and surety is literally and figuratively shattered; and lastly the house blueprints, which should provide structural integrity, but belie the truth.
And let us not forget the title of the film itself: “The Disappointments Room”. Just who named this space, and who is the disappointed party the title is actually referring to?
Where an ethereal child dances in and out of frame, it is only a matter of time before the ghost Dana chases begins to evolve into something far more tangible as the fate of her own child is put at risk in the trials of her pursuit.
“The Disappointments Room” (2016) promises shades of classic suspense and noir thrillers, and seems in good company with other imminent releases featuring the prototypical Japanese “spirit” horror narrative. With warnings speculating violent content, bloody images, sexual content and adult language: the film seems to be setting itself up as a horror hybrid primed for the Christmas holiday period. Festive!
Director: D J Caruso
Kate Beckinsale: Dana
Mel Raido: David
Duncan Joiner: Lucas
Find out more at the official IMDB page here: imdb.com