AUGUST 12, 2009
Remember how blown away we were by the end of Jacob’s Ladder? I kind of fear that a movie will never have that surprise again, because there are so many movies like Room 6 in which that sort of “they were dead/dying the whole time” twist is so obvious right from the start, you almost come to expect it in any movie where something traumatic (in this case, a car crash) occurs to its main character. Or, you end up with movies like Wind Chill, where they make it seem like that and the twist is that they are NOT dead and the movie is actually kind of about nothing.
Anyway, Room 6 is decent. According to the IMDb, the budget was only a million bucks (yes, it was “only” enough to pay off my debt and live comfortably for the rest of my life - instead they made Room 6), but it looks like a lot more, and considering 2 sort of A-list (B+ list?) actors in Christine Taylor and Jerry O’Connell probably weren’t cheap, it’s even more impressive. It’s technically great, thanks to a DP in Ray Stella and editing by Kevin Greutert (who is helming Saw VI - which I keep hearing is the best one in a while). The makeup by Rob Hall is also quite good, and plentiful - at one point I considered labeling this a zombie movie due to an extended sequence where Taylor is chased around a hospital by zombie-ish folks.
But the obvious twist makes the whole affair a bit un-involving. It’s hard to really pull for Taylor to find her boyfriend when you know it’s not actually happening. Plus, writers Mike Hurst (who also directed) and Mark Altman sort of cheat, as they also continually show the creepy goings on at the hospital where the boyfriend has been taken to. These scenes, for obvious reasons, do not involve Taylor, and since the whole movie’s in her head, why is she imagining a B-story? Especially one that’s actually more interesting than her own?
And one of those scenes is a random lesbian session between the nurses at the hospital where he’s staying. I’m all for gratuitous and extraneous scenes where beautiful women kiss and fondle each other (and then drink from syringes filled with blood), but why is Taylor imagining her boyfriend seeing such things in her dying throes? I thought it was “your life flashes before your eyes”, not “the wishful thinking version of your boyfriend’s life flashes before your eyes”. I hope to hell when I’m dying, I’m not just watching my wife visit Europe and opening her own practice.
One thing I did like is that the whole movie is about Taylor’s unexplained daddy issues. So when it comes time for the flashback, you know they won’t just have some no-name dude as the dad. And who is our mystery guest? Marshall Bell! Love that guy. Kane Hodder also pops up in a brief turn as a homeless guy who turns into a demon and fights Jerry O’Connell. And Billy Gardell is a delight as the taxi driver who brings Taylor around. A lot of these DTV movies with a reasonably famous star have complete no-names for the rest of the supporting cast, so it’s nice to see good actors even in the smaller roles.
So I dunno, it’s a twist movie where the twist won’t surprise anyone who has ever seen a twist movie before, but it’s still sort of entertaining. Taylor’s always nice to watch, and it’s rare to see her in a lead role, so there’s something. Your life won’t be empty if you never bother to watch it, but hey - it’s a hell of a lot better than the Carnival Of Souls remake, at any rate.
What say you?