Sunday, June 25, 2006

Room 6

Amy Roberts has some issues. Hospitals terrify her, thanks to a childhood trauma, as does commitment. When her live-in boyfriend Nick gets down on one knee to propose she coldly asks him if they can discuss this later.

On the way home from work that day, Nick and Amy's car is side swiped at an intersection. Nick's leg is badly broken and he is taken away by some sinister looking ambulance attendants. Amy is not allowed to accompany him, and the attendants seem to have forgotten to tell her what hospital they're taking Nick to. Lucas, the driver of the other vehicle is unharmed, but his sister is taken away under similarly sinister circumstances. When she can't locate Nick at any area hospitals, Amy and Lucas go to the police, but are turned away on the rather nonsensical assumption that it's all a prank.

Meanwhile, Nick finds himself in a hospital being cared for by several beautiful but obviously evil nurses. They draw blood from Nick and two other patients with uncomfortable frequency, and are evasive when answering Nick's questions.

Amy is a school teacher and Melissa, one of her students, has been drawing pictures of the creatures she's been seeing in her nightmares. These creatures bear a strong resemblance to the one's Amy begins to see in real life. Seemingly normal people will inexplicably morph into nightmarish hellspawn. When Amy asks Melissa for help, Melissa tells her Nick can be found at St. Rosemary's, a hospital that burned to the ground decades earlier amidst rumors of satanic shenanigans.

I've seen a lot of direct to DVD horror flicks lately. These films can be a chore to sit through, but that's the price you pay for being a horror completist. I had some hope for Room 6. The cast is quite competent. Amy is played by Christine Taylor who played Marcia in the Brady Bunch movies. While she seems to have escaped the typecasting suffered by the original Brady cast, my Marcia, Marcia, Marcia alarm goes off everytime I see her. Jerry O'Connell, who has come a long way from being the fat kid in Stand By Me, plays Lucas. Even the smaller roles are peppered with familiar faces. Nick's fellow patients at St. Rosemary's include John Billingsley, probably best known for his portrayal of Dr. Phlox on four seasons of Enterprise, and Jack Riley who has made a career of playing a patient having played Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show and St. Elsewhere. And, though you won't recognize him without the hockey mask, longtime Friday the 13th star Kane Hodder appears as a homeless demon.

What cripples the film is not the cast but the script. Amy repeatedly sees people turning into demons. These visions seem to be randomly inserted to keep the scares coming, but other than shock value they add nothing to the story and soon become tiresome. The idea of getting help from the police is dismissed too quickly to be believable. Apparently police involvement didn't fit in with the sceenwriters' plans, so the idea is ignored via a flimsy plot device. On principal I have nothing against such things, but the naked lesbian nurse foursome (I am not making that up) just seems forced and out of place.

Characters are drawn with a ridiculously broad brush. Melissa's white trash mother is irritatingly over the top, and the Catholic priest from whom Amy seeks counsel is nauseatingly angelic – at least until he turns into a demon. The notion that a priest in this day and age would address an adult as “my child” is laughable.

The worst is saved for the end. The film's climax is a slap in the face to anyone who dedicated 94 minutes to sitting through Room 6. While the ending theoretically explains away the disjointed nature of the film, it is a cop out of the worst kind, and one of the horror genre's worst cliches.

I suggest viewers skip Room 6 and rent Jacob's Ladder, a film with a similar plot that has the advantage of being infinitely more watchable.

1 comment:

warrenzone said...

looks awful! I hate Jacob's Ladder rip-offs - there are a lot of those...

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