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THE ROOM (2019)
Directed by Christian Volckman
Written by Christian Volckman (screenplay), Sabrina B. Karine, Gaia Guasti, Vincent Ravalec, Eric Forestier (collaboration)
Starring Olga Kurylenko, Kevin Janssens, Joshua Wilson, John Flanders, Francis Chapman, Vince Drews, Marianne Bourg, Oscar Lesage, Carole Weyers, Michaël Kahya, Jean-Louis Sbille, Victor Meurice, Livio Siscot, Heather Bailly-Gade, Isaac Kaminski
No, I’m not talking about Tommy Wiseau’s classic messterpiece. This version of THE ROOM is a modern day fairy tale that retains the twisted and ruthless moral center of the oldest versions of those stories.
Kate and Matt (Olga Kurylenko and Kevin Janssens) are a happy couple who has decided to move into a large mansion in the country and plan to renovate it. While doing so, they discover a secret door wallpapered over, leading to a room they didn’t know existed. Inside this room, they discover that any thing they wish for comes true. The catch is that whatever they wish for must stay inside the home, lest it disintegrates into ash as soon as it leaves the home. While the couple are having fun playing around with priceless art, all kinds of playful knick-knacks, and whatever their hearts desire, what Kate really wants is a child—though it has been established that she is unable to do so. One night, after a large amount of alcohol and boredom, Kate wishes for a child and it is the beginning of the end for the happy home.
THE ROOM is a wonderful premise because it fills one’s head with all kind of wish-fulfillment fantasies of what one would do with an opportunity like this. Seeing the couple have fun with all of their baubles and toys is something out of a dream. But things don’t stay that way, of course, and seeing all of this happiness and riches fade away with one careless wish really works. The film spends a lot of time allowing us to connect and get to know Kate and Matt. The characters are well written, and even though they look like supermodels from a JC Penny’s catalog, their joy and pain are still made relatable though some solid acting and storytelling.
Things start getting deeply psychologically dark as the relationship between mother, father, and child gets twisted around into all kinds of uncomfortable Freudian pretzels. The battle signifies a lot of the dark side of relationships in families and I quite liked the risks the film took in playing them out since these are issues that not a lot of films don’t dare venture into. The final act soured THE ROOM for me though as reality gets warped as wishes get compounded upon wishes, what is real and what is not is blurred, and the solid grounding of psychological horror is shattered in favor of a bigger and more bombastic end. I feel had the film simply kept to its psychologically potent core, I would have been a more wholehearted review.
Because of this, I liked THE ROOM, but didn’t love it. Off-course ending aside, THE ROOM is a very well made film showcasing the exceptional acting of Olga Kurylenko and some wonderful twists and turns. While I didn’t like the end, turns out I couldn’t shake this one after it was over. Always a good thing when it comes to horror films.