THE ROOM is the latest film from French director Christian Volckman (Renaissance) which centers around a couple who move into a new home only to find a strange room that grants them unlimited material wishes. The film, adapted for the screen by Volckman and Eric Forestier, stars Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Mara) and Kevin Janssens (Revenge, “Undercover”).
To best describe the film, I’ll turn to the official synopsis: “When Kate (Kurylenko) and Matt (Janssens) leave the city to move into an old house, they discover a secret hidden room that has the extraordinary power to materialize anything they wish for. Their new life becomes a true fairytale. Yet beneath this apparent state of bliss, something darker lurks: some wishes can have dire consequences.”
THE ROOM, not to be confused with the cult film of the same name starring Tommy Wiseau, is a surprising little flick that took me on one hell of a journey. It opens with the introduction of Kate and Matt as they move into their new home that is in need of some major fixing up. However, shortly after moving in, they locate a mysterious room that causes power surges whenever someone enters. They soon come to learn that this room is much more than a vacant space but one that will grant them unlimited wishes.
Though nervous at first, Kate, a translator, and Matt, an artist, eventually give in and revel in their new-found opulence. However, their desire for more reaches a fever pitch when the idea of having a baby is brought into the picture. It’s at this point that the film takes an unexpected turn but still made sense to the overall plot of the film: our greedy actions can have devastating consequences. We, as humans, are rather gluttonous – we want more and more, even when it threatens to be too much, as Matt learns when he beings to research the house, and that’s what leads to the downfall of Kate and Matt.
From a visual standpoint, THE ROOM is stunning. The production design featuring the changing sets during the montage of excessive lavishness was brilliant and eye-popping. Diamonds falling with sharp pinpricks of light reflected off the wall along with camera tricks to heighten the power that the Room possessed. All this excess played brilliantly against the ageing and decrepit home. The couple has forfeited their plans of redesigning instead to bask in blankets of money and instant gratification. As the movie continues, the use of mirrors, as well as specific dialogue, helped to show a reflection of who these characters were and what they had become.
If you are looking for a film that’s going to elicit a slew of jumpscares, this isn’t the one. Instead, Volckman relays more on atmosphere and design to give the viewer a creeping sense of dread. I found the last 20 minute of the film to be the most riveting and stressful. It’s here where the consequences of the couple’s actions come to the forefront resulting in a deadly scenario that could cost them everything. Though the acting felt wooden and/or overdramatic at times, as a whole Kurylenko and Janssens gave above-average performances which were quite the feat considering the small cast size.
Overall, THE ROOM features a unique premise that evolves into an unsettling trap that’s hard to escape from. With beautiful visuals and stunning set pieces, THE ROOM is a wonder of artistic displays. Though portions of the storyline made me uneasy, I do believe that’s a result of effective writing in order to elicit an emotional response. Though not as effective as other well-known art house horror films, THE ROOM can comfortably be situated not far from them.
THE ROOM is now available on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray.