Thursday, September 1, 2016

THE DEAD ROOM (2015) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: IFC Midnight I Scream Factory

Release Date: September 6th 2016
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, DTS-HD MA 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Jason Stutter
Cast: Jed Brophy, Jeffrey Thomas, Laura Petersen

A trio of New Zealand based ghost hunters are hired by an insurance company to investigate reports of a otherworldly presence at a remote farmhouse after it has been recently abandoned by its owners whom were scared off  by a reportedly violent supernatural presence. The trio of supernatural thrill seekers is made up of spirit-sensitive psychic Holly (Laura Petersen), tech-nerd Liam (Jed Brophy), and skeptic Scott (Jeffrey Thomas), the latter of whom plays devil's advocate during the investigation, casually dispelling the paranormal happenings that are happening all around. 

Unfortunately The Dead Room (2015) is a pretty standard haunter with the usual array of bumps in the night, eerie supernatural winds, doors opening and closing and it even a throws in a bit of possession to spice things up a bit, but while the movie has some nice atmospheric cinematography and is nicely lit with some fun surround sound design it relies way too much on the viewer's imagination to be truly effective. Our resident psychic spends most of the movie describing a menacing apparition who is causing the fuss, but we never once see the damn thing! At a certain point I just felt cheated by it all. I love a slice slow-burn cinema and there's a definite place for the less-is-more  approach, but it didn't work for this movie, not for me anyway. 

The story is hackneyed and uses so many of the generic haunter conventions associated with ghost hunter movies, including the annoying skeptic scientist who refuses to face fact despite the fact that paranormal activity is happening all around him, and then when he accepts that something paranormal is happening he stays despite the inherent dangers, while everyone else is scrambling to get away. The movie took a detour in the final act when a hidden room reveals a new dark truth, but even the shocker of an ending is sadly predictable. The Dead Room will give you deja vu in the worst possible way, you've watched this same sort of story unfold many times before, but rarely has it been so bland and generic. A mediocre ghost entry with some nice cinematography, but the scares are scarce and the story is tired.