2016

The Disappointments Room

I was less than impressed with this film. Not that the acting was bad or that it wasn’t a decently made film. I just didn’t care much for it. It feels like ghosts are hit and miss. Most often misses and while I won’t go as far as to call The Disappointments Room as miss, it’s certainly not a hit. My main issue is that the film comes off as bland, where it shouldn’t be. As they could have played on the idea that Dana might be crazy and not actually haunted. But the film never explores that territory instead choosing to stay in the safe zone of formulaic ghost horror.

Dana (Kate Beckinsale) a successful architect moves from the city to an old country manor with her husband David (Mel Raido) and their son Lucus (Duncan Joiner). The move was prompted by the recent death of their daughter and Dana’s accompanying mental breakdown and suicide attempt. But not everything is roses at the new manor, which is bad need of some repairs. While outside Dana notices a light turn on and off on the top floor and goes to investigate and finds a small room that locks only from the outside that’s not on the floor plans. She visits with the town librarian Ms. Judith (Marcia DeRousse) and learns that the room in question is a disappointments room. A room that disfigured children would be forced to live, to hide them away so that their appearance wouldn’t bring shame on their family. As Dana repairs and renovates the house and she delves more and more into the mystery of the disappointments room, she becomes more and more haunted by the ghosts of the manor. A little girl in a yellow dress (Ella Jones) along with her father, Judge Baker (Gerald McRaney) and Judge Baker doesn’t like Dana in his home…

What really dragged down this film was that so little happens. The pacing is great, which masks just how little is happening. It often felt like the film didn’t know where it was going, just meandering again and again. This made the film feel longer than it is, but not by a truly unbearable margin.

The acting, when it’s allowed to happen is pretty great. Kate Beckinsale and Mel Raido do a wonderful job and the two’s chemistry really worked for me. I loved Gerald McRaney as the spirit of the Judge. But I’ve loved him since I first became aware of him from his work on Jericho. Duncan Joiner did a good job for a child actor as did Ella Jones, but nothing noteworthy from either. The supporting cast, what there is, also did great jobs. Overall a very well cast and performed.

I loved the house. I love old houses as dread locations. To the point I wish I could have seen more of it. As most of what happens is only in a handful of rooms. The manor has a bit of a Rose Red vibe to me and I wish that the hauntings would have played off the house more.

Final thoughts, Good, but crippling generic. The pacing, acting, set and technical are all on point here. It’s just the boring story, where so little happens that drags down it down. Now I’m not talking about more scares, just more anything. I would only suggest this if you’re a fan of slow horror. But I don’t see myself revisiting this film. 5/10

Cabin Fever (2016)

cabin-fever-2-1This is a film that didn’t need to be made as it brought nothing new to the table. First off rebooting a franchise that’s only fourteen years old seems more that little ridiculous. Coupling that with the fact that this remake uses the same script, just edited down slightly and tweaked to add some current pop culture references, I don’t get why this film was even green lit in the first place. One word can sum up all of this film, unneeded. As that’s what this is film is, completely unneeded. Having somehow kept all the awful aspects of the original and none of the charm.

As this remake is an exact copy of the original, names and all. So I’m not sure how to cover this. Basically look at my review for the first cabin fever. Which goes kids go to a secluded cabin for spring break, meet sick Hermit, everyone gets sick and substitute the actors names, Paul (Samuel Davis), Karen (Gage Golightly), Jeff (Matthew Daddario), Marcy (Nadine Crocker), Bert (Dustin Ingram), Henry (Randy Schulman), and Deputy Wilson (Louise Linton).

The fact that this is an exact rehashing made this film very hard to get through for me. This might be because the original was still so fresh in my memory, but I think that other than the production value. Nothing was handled any better. The characters are still unlikable and stupid. Just this time around these no camp humor to fall back on, making the film a bleaker viewing experience.

The removal of the old man at the general store seemed odd given that as far as I can tell, he’s regarded as the best character by just about everyone that’s seen in that I’ve talked to. Beyond his complete removal the other changes are completely cosmetic. The couple that chases of one of the kids when they are looking for help because of peeping have had the genders flipped and more notably as far as gender reversal goes is Deputy Wilson is now played by a woman.

While on the topic of Deputy Wilson, while Louise Linton isn’t as memorable as Giuseppe Andrews. She’s still the best performance in this film. Not that she had any real competition. Her Wilson comes off as less inept and far more predatory than Giuseppe’s did and might be the second best thing about this remake.

The best being the production in the gore effects. which, while never chilling or unsettling are remarkably well done. Dr. Mambo in particular took on a much more gruesome appearance and actually looks sick this time around. The bathtub scene also gets redone though here it feels like they tried to push the bounds of the last film and it comes of feeling cheap.

Final thoughts, beyond passable. I can’t think of a single thing, other than Louise Linton and the effects, that would cause me to recommend this film. At least never over the original in any case. Where the first film had a lot of heart and some decent vision, all of that feels lost here and what’s left is a pretty hollow shell of a film that wasn’t all the great to begin with. 3/10