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Room, The (2006)



The Room review (click to see the poster larger!)Starring Caroline Veyt, Pascal Duquenne, Maximilien Jouret-Maron, Henri Luyckx, Francoise Mignon, Philippe Resimont

Directed by Giles Daoust

Not a lot’s been said about the bizarre Belgian thriller The Room here on Dread Central, mainly because there’s not been much to say since the film made its debut at some film festivals around the world and has since been picked up for eventual distribution here in the U.S. Though the plot outline is stimulating, at the end of the day The Room is not as intriguing or frightening as you may think, due mainly to some peculiar directorial choices from helmer Giles Daoust (Last Night on Earth).

Ostensibly The Room is about a reprehensible family who are barely able to tolerate one another dealing with the fact that, all of a sudden, a door appears at the end of a hallway when there wasn’t one before. What lies beyond that door, the titular Room, is a great mystery throughout the film, but one that is sadly anticlimactic when it is finally resolved.

Daughter Melinda (Veyt) is preparing to finally move out of the house she shares with her parents, younger brother John and older brother Alex, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. She’s very pregnant as the film begins, and through a series of monochromatic flashbacks we learn that the identity of the father of her baby is one of the reasons this family is not getting along at all. Another reason would be that Melinda is essentially responsible for Alex being paralyzed, forced to spend life in a wheelchair, the result of a nasty fall down the stairs following a disturbing series of events that will likely make most viewers squeamish for all the wrong reasons.

The Room review (click to see the full image!)They sit down for dinner the day before Melinda is set to leave, and one of John’s friends discovers this brand-new door on the way to the bathroom, engraved with nonsensical letters, disappearing with a scream and prompting the family to investigate. The disappearance of this boy is the first of many scenes set in The Hallway Down Which No One Can Walk Fast, one of the many hang-ups that cause The Room to drag on and on and on and, just when you think it can’t drag anymore, on for a while longer. At first one might wonder if Daoust set up the Hallway to be dreamlike, indicating that you literally could not walk down it as would happen in a dream, or if he was just padding the running time to hit feature length.

When Melinda finally enters the room, we quickly realize it is the second of those options, as it takes her almost 10 minutes to walk across a barren landscape towards a light, a scene that will at first remind you of the end of Fulci’s The Beyond but goes on for so long you will eventually get to wondering about what you’re going to have for lunch the next day.

Too many long, plodding tracking shots and too much cramming of camera and film techniques serve to drag The Room down, which is a shame because the premise has a lot of creepy promise and the cast is superb.

The Room review (click to see the full image!)What might help you appreciate The Room more is if you don’t go into it looking for a disturbing, psychological scare-fest, but rather a study of the worst kind of family life you can imagine. Young brother John does nothing but torment his wheelchair-bound sibling; Mother Marie (Mignon) is so repressed she seems on the edge of a breakdown in every scene (and when it eventually hits, its definitely a dramatic highlight); father Max (Resimont) is a tortured pianist who seems to hate every single person under his roof; indeed the only two characters who seem to have genuine affection for one another are Melinda and Alex, and even that relationship is taken to places it should have never gone.

As stated the performances are top-notch throughout, but special credit should be given to Resimont as Max, a character who is chewing through scenery every time he’s on screen, with a naturally massive maw that makes his performance that much more over-the-top and enjoyable. He would have been a fantastic choice for a Nicholson-esque Joker if one were ever needed, and he wouldn’t have had to fake the big evil smile; this guy was born with it.

As a horror film, The Room could have been much more effective had it lost about 20 minutes, most of which would just be characters walking down the aforementioned hallway anyway. As a look at a morally reprehensible family, The Room could have worked on its own without the mystery door. Instead, The Room is a mashing of those two plot elements and an overall frustrating experience. Perhaps before its eventual release here some trimming can be done to quicken the pace a bit … and hopefully give some more scenes to Resimont.

3 out of 5

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Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?



Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas

While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

  • Inside (Remake)


Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

User Rating 1.67 (3 votes)
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What If Tina Fey Wrote Jennifer’s Body? My Friend’s Exorcism Book Review



“Rummaging in one of his duffel bags, [the exorcist] pulled out and athletic cup and slid it down the front of his pants. ‘First place they go for,’ he explained. He then adjusted himself and picked up a well-worn Bible. ‘Let’s do the Lord’s work.'”

It was about a year ago now (it seems) that I first saw the cover of “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.” If you haven’t seen it for yourself in all of its glory, make sure to click the image over to the right for a more in-depth look. Awesome, right? Got to love all the VHS details such as the “Horror” and “Be Kind Rewind” stickers. Classic. Utter classic.

Now I’m fully aware that one should not judge a book by its cover. Literally. But still the moment I saw this work of delicious art crop up in the inbox I had to read the book asap. Well, it turns out asap was about a year later, but all the same, I’ve now had a peek at the inside of the book as well as the outside. Does the content inside match the content outside?

Let’s find out…

For those who might not know, “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” (henceforth referred to as MBFE) tells the tale of two best friends named Abby and Grethen. One night the two, and a few of there other friends, drop a bit of acid for the first time. While the drug never kicks in (no worries, there’s no lame twist-ending to be had here) poor Gretchen still wanders off into the woods and gets possessed like a motherf*cker in some creepy abandoned building. From there, things go from bad to worse until an unlikely exorcist is called in and things go off the wicked walls in all the best ways possible.

Now, to review. First of all, let it be know that MBFE is more of a teen romance (between two friends) than a straight tale of terror. Think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body?” and that will give you a good hint at what the book holds in store for you. Not that that’s a bad thing. Still, you should be aware that the first 2/3 of the book is almost exclusively teenagers not getting along, bitch about losing touch, who is sleeping with who, and yada, yada, yada for pages on end. Dramarama for days. Mostly.

That said, not only is the teen drama bearable (and truthfully quite sweet in spots), Hendrix keeps the horror in the spotlight just enough that I never lost faith the book was heading somewhere truly balls to the wall. And it does. Oh, boy does it. From the time the unholy shite hits the fan in the last third, to the time the last word is read, the book is filled with horror moments that will make even the most jaded fright-fiction fan gag, grimace, or stand up and cheer!

You just have to get through all the angst first…

But speaking of angst, let me get a bit of extremely personal business out of the way real quick. Can I trust you with this info? Sure I can. MBFE made is cry like a baby. Not kidding. There have been very few times in my life that I have literally burst out crying. I’ve had some sad shite happen in my days, and I have seen some sad-ass movies, but nothing has made me cry out of the f*cking blue like MBFE. I’m not going to go into details about the final 10 pages of the book, but it tore my poor horror-heart a new one. It was bad. Like snot and hyperventilating type shite. Again, not kidding. Thank the lord I wasn’t in public is all I can say. I would have arrested and thrown in the booby-hatch.

MBFE goes along like a slightly horror-centric version of Mean Girls and Heathers for most of its page count. If you’re a straight horror fan, you’ll be at odds with whether you should bother finishing it or not. You will. Trust me. But listen to me now and know that once our heroine goes into the dark, dank bedroom of the school’s resident bitch to find out why she hasn’t been in school the past few days/weeks, the horror hits like holy hell. And it only gets worse (RE: better) from there.

In the end, MBFE is a book ever horror fan should own – if only for the cover. I dug the hell out of the book (eventually) and I’m sure the majority of you guys will too. But even for those hard-hearts out there that just can’t stand to read about things like uncompromising love, and hellfire-forged friendship, you still need to own the book. You still owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you don’t care for it, that’s cool, just display in on your bookshelf in all it’s VHS glory. It will make you look cool.

  • My Best Friend's Exorcism - Book Review


Grady Hendrix’s “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a killer mixture of Mean Girls, Heathers, and The Exorcist. Just think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body” and you’ll have a good indication of what lies in store for you within the amazing VHS-inspired cover art.

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Knock Knock Review – This Throwback To The VHS Era Packs A Fun Punch



Starring Kerry Tartack, Sisi Berry, Chuk Hell

Directed by Toby Canto

I remember the glory days of my youth back in the early to mid-80’s, renting every friggin horror flick on VHS and keeping the cassettes well past the return dates, eventually blacklisting my name from damn near all of the movie shops in my hometown. For the sole reason of wanting to hop back in the time-machine, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to check out a film that promises to ship you back to the days of all of that cheesy-neon attire and overblown hairdos.

Director Toby Canto was generous enough to offer his latest film up onto the sacrificial stone, and it’s called Knock Knock – about a WAY past his prime pugilist named Sam (Tartack) who is unwillingly thrust into a throwdown with a bloodsucker who happens to reside in the same apartment – damn noisy neighbors! His only birthday wish is to spend his 60th go-round safely hold up in his domicile, away from pesky residents alike. Well, that plan goes to shit when his kooky neighbor (Berry) comes by and pitches the idea of throwing hands with the newest tenant: a real creature of the night (Lucas Ayoub).

Sam initially nixes the idea wholeheartedly, but when more of his quirky neighbors show up to his place to substantiate the vampiric-claims, Sam finds himself lacing up the leather for one more round…or two, depending on if he can still take a beating. Filled with more than a handful of goofy instances, this near-hour presentation won’t blow the doors off of the horror/com vehicle, but should more than suffice in the short-term until the next spooky-laugher comes slithering out of its hole.

  • Film


Historians alike, this movie’s for those who want a reminder of how loopy those VHS days were, and the best part is you don’t have to rewind a freakin’ thing.

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