I wanted to go into THE DISAPPOINTMENT’S ROOM with hopes that I wouldn’t be disappointed (pun intended) but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. It’s not that I had high hopes per say, but I was so enthralled with what a disappointment room was all about that I was hoping the film would capitalize on that. However, the overall experience was dull and unimaginative and a loss opportunity on a subject matter that is quite unsettling.
THE DISAPPOINTMENT’S ROOM is directed by D.J. Caruso (DISTURBIA) and written by Caruso and Wentworth miller (yes, that Wentworth Miller). The film stars Kate Beckinsale, Mel Raido, Lucas Till, Duncan Joiner and Gerald McRaney and centers around a mother (Beckinsale) and son (Joiner) who unlock a mysterious room in the attic that holds a terrifying sercret. When I first heard of this movie, I didn’t even know that a disappointment room was a thing. From what I have gathered, they were rooms designed in the 1800’s where children were placed from society if they suffered from a birth defect or mental retardation. It was in these rooms that parents would hid their “secrets” (aka children) for fear of embarrassment or shame. A lot of time these children didn’t live long and were treated awful. In and of itself, this is a great plot for a horror film, and one that could have gone down a disturbing rabbit hole had it been given the right direction and a stronger cast.
To start things off, let’s talk about the acting. Kate Beckinsale is known in the horror genre for her role Selene in the UNDERWORLD films, so I was hoping that she would be able to pull of her character, Dana, in this film. Clearly, this would not be the case. Not only was she boring and uninterested, but it was incredibly hard to feel for her character. I never once thought she was in danger and as the film went on, I realized my interest in her character was non-existent. What really irked me though was that her character was supposed to be an architect and yet she didn’t even seem to show any inclination of what an architect is really supposed to do. Sure she sprouted out a few choice words that sounded fancy, but as someone who works with architects and is an interior designer, it was abundantly clear she had no idea what she was talking about. The only person in this film that was a saving grace was Mel Raido, who plays Dana’s husband, David. He was at least some comic relief and the only character that I felt was well-rounded and believable.
One of the most important things when making a horror film is making sure there is quality scares. This is something that doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but it’s an important aspect to a horror film. THE DISAPPOINTMENT’S ROOM had barely any meat to it’s bones when it came to quality scares. Every scare was perfectly attuned to a musical cue and there was no sense of dread or foreboding. For a film that had such a great concept, they could have done so much in terms of an overall feeling of creepinenss and yet there was nothing. I’m not trying to be harsh on purpose, I actually hate writing negative reviews, but if you are going to make a horror film you need to get your scares down. I find it incredibly lazy when films solely rely on music to scare the audience, your viewers are smarter than that and it doesn’t take too much to come up with creative ways to scare your audience. In terms of violence and gore, I can’t really think of any that were interesting. Just like with the scares, there was nothing that stood out to me as being unique or different with the kills. Having just watched this film a few days ago, I literally can’t think of any deaths that happened and I know there must have been one or two; so as you can see, it was quite forgettable.
Overall, I’m not really sure what happened with this movie. I’m a bit disappointed (pun was not intended this time) in director D.J. Caruso as I really enjoy a lot of his films, especially TAKING LIVES. He has a talent for building quality suspense in his films but for some reason it just didn’t shine through in this one. I wish I could recommend this film to people, but I honestly can’t. There isn’t anything redeemable about it and in the end you are just left wondering why you wasted 92 minutes of your life. If you have a chance to watch this film, don’t do it. You’ll thank me in the end.
THE DISAPPOINTMENT’S ROOM is now available on DVD and Digital HD