Wednesday, June 14, 2006
  DVD Review: Room 6

The makers of Room 6 promote the film with the following ominous-sounding tagline: "Some Doors Should Never Be Opened." That phrase is right there on the DVD case, writ large along the bottom of the front artwork. That phrase is true enough, I suppose. Some doors really shouldn't be opened. Some DVD cases shouldn't be opened, either. This turned out to be one of them.

You know those movies that you see along the wall when you go to the video store to rent a movie.... those obnoxious looking horror b-movies with repulsive names and even more repulsive images on the cover of the DVD case? You very well might find yourself glancing at those DVDs and wondering "Who makes this kind of garbage... and who actually watches this crap?" Well, the answer to the first question is that it's untalented, uninspired movie makers who make this kind of garbage. The answer to the second question is that it's people like me, in this unfortunate instance, who watch this kind of crap.

Room 6 is a hackneyed, pointless horror b-movie... no better or worse, I'm sure, than some of those crap movies I've seen on the shelves at my local video store. Movies like Flesh Freaks and It Waits and Mosquito Man (Or is it Mansquito?) and the latest Hellraiser sequel. In a nutshell, Room 6 is a dumb, impetuous movie, made by dumb, impetuous people who realize that nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of teenage movie renters.

For some reason, I thought Room 6 might be a little better than that. I guess I was fooled because it stars Jerry O'Connell and Christine Taylor. O'Connell was pretty good in Jerry Maguire and on the TV show Sliders, right? And Christine Taylor was enjoyable in Dodgeball and on the wonderful, underseen Arrested Development, right? So this movie might be decent, right?

Alright, I was fooling myself.

The sucker-punch, though, came when somebody told me that I'd enjoy this film because it was very much like Jacob's Ladder. Now, Jacob's Ladder is one of my absolute, all-time favorite horror movies, and anytime somebody tells me that I might like a movie because I'm a Jacob's Ladder fan, I'm willing to check it out. Sometimes that pays off. Altered States and Donnie Darko are both movies I enjoyed somewhat, and they're both movies I saw because of the supposed Jacob's Ladder connection. So, sometimes I take people's word about a given movie being Jacob's Ladderesque, and I end up seeing an OK flick. Other times I take people's word and I end up seeing Room 6

I won't describe the plot because there isn't much of one to describe. There are a lot of monsters and shots of Christine Taylor running and looking scared. There is also, for some reason I can't begin to fathom, a blood-soaked lesbian vampire soft-core porn scene right in the middle of the movie. Yes, I'm serious. No, I really can't figure out why it's there, and I won't guess. I will say, however, that Room 6 did convince me that Christine Taylor should stick to second-tier roles in her husband's comedies, because that seems to be the limit of her talent. She's cute, sure. She has that girl-next door look, and that's nice... but the girl just can't act. Throughout the movie I found myself shaking my head, saying "Oh, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia..." As far as Jerry O'Connell, I have one bit of advice: Memorize this phrase, Jerry, because you'll be using it an awful lot in your future: "Will that be for here or to go?"

I honestly had more fun reading the credits for the movie at the IMDb than I did watching the movie itself. For instance, I noted that Kane Hodder, a veteran of a thousand horror b-movies, is in this film. According to the IMDb, his character is "Homeless Demon". Now, that's just sad. Is there anything more pitiful than a homeless demon? I mean, if they won't even take you in Hell, where's a guy to go? Maybe Dave Matthews and Eddie Vedder can put together a benefit concert for all the poor homeless demons wandering the streets out there.

So, no, Room 6 really isn't any good... but I'm giving it just a tiny bit of credit for a couple of things: For one, Shane Brolly is another principle actor in the movie, and his performance didn't particularly offend me. Plus, I feel bad for him because his name is misspelled (not just once, but THREE times) on the DVD case. I'm also giving the movie a tiny bit of credit because it did at least try to move into Jacob's Ladder territory. It's very rare that a horror movie will try to say something important about the human condition, about life and death and love and the nature of the soul. Jacob's Ladder is really about all of those things, and it's a wonderful movie. I want to encourage movie makers to try to make more horror films that explore those important concepts, even if they end up failing as miserably as the makers of Room 6 did.

PS - After reading Nehring's brilliant, laugh-out-loud review of Room 6, I have to believe I went far too easy on it. Can I revoke my one-and-a-half clappers and, instead, rate this film with a negative five clappers?

I have this sitting at the foot of my DVD player right now.

There was a part of me, the small hopeful part of me that was meekly whispering "maybe it won't be so bad."

Thanks for the warning.
Yeah Nehring, it was THAT bad.
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