Looking to start over after a traumatizing year, a family relocates from their big city life to a rundown estate in the country. It doesn’t take long before the wife notices odd occurrences in their new home that could spell danger for her family. The Disappointments Room is your standard haunted house film, that encompasses all the worst of the horror subgenre. With a lack of vision, missing frights, and a bizarre conclusion, this film is, well, a disappointment.
Minor Spoilers Below
Reeling from the death of their infant daughter, Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and her husband David (Mel Raido), along with their young son Lucas, move from their busy New York City life to the country. Their new home is a palatial estate, in dire need of some renovations and new life breathed into it. Dana, an architect, aims to focus her energy into sprucing the place up. When she discovers a secret room, left off the house blueprints, she grows more curious of the homes deeper history.
After finally gaining entry to the room, unexplainable things begin to happen inside the home. Dana has terrifying dreams, sees an ominous black dog on the property, hears voices and seems to be caught between supernatural playbacks. As her experiences become more traumatizing, her husband fears there’s something psychologically wrong with her.
Directed by D. J. Caruso (Disturbia, Taking Lives) and written by Wentworth Miller (yes, Prison Break Wentworth Miller), this film is set up in classic, and predictable, horror fashion. Where a struggling couple tries to mend their relationship and save their family by ironically moving into a more stressful situation. There is very little done to distinguish itself from other scary flicks that use the same setting. The overused plot isn’t the only thing that weighs this film down. More-so it completely lacks a story and fails to establish anything other than on a surface level.
Another issue facing this film is its inability to set up a structured ghost story. The film utilizes a lot of flashbacks at odd times to tell the history of the house and the family that lived there before – our would-be ghosts. Most of the time, it’s impossible to tell if Dana is seeing this, as she remains completely stone-faced a lot of the time, while scenes of the past play out in front of her. The movie continually plays off the idea that Dana might just be losing her mind, or at least that’s what her husband thinks. But based off the way this film ends, you’re left confused if the spirits really did exists or not.
Character development in this film doesn’t really seem to exist. It does very little to make you feel invested in the family. Minor characters suffer from this as well, as everyone just seems a bit off. There is also a painful flirtation towards Dana by a young handyman named Ben (Lucas Till), whose advances have absolutely no point to the story nor any realism. Beckinsale, herself, seems more distracted by keeping her fake American accent than to deliver a solid performance. The point of casting her seems completely odd considering they stripped her of her accent and slapped a wig on her.
The Disappointments Room doesn’t have one redeeming quality about it. It’s a perfect example of an uninspired film. One that lacks any entertainment value whatsoever. I’d really recommend skipping over this Netflix find next time you’re in the neighborhood for a horror film.