Roman (2006)

FEBRUARY 12, 2008


Instead of reading this review, you should go see Spiral, or pre-order the DVD here (it’s only playing in a few cities). You see, Roman is a very similar movie in concept, but on the polar opposite end of the spectrum in execution. Because, while both films are “slow”, Spiral is pretty damn good, and this movie bored the shit out of me, and didn’t look very good either. And it didn’t have Chuck.

Like Spiral, Roman is about a creepy guy who inexplicably draws the attraction of a really hot, spunky girl who might have some mental issues. Unfortunately, the film never once feels like anything but a decent short film that someone decided should be stretched into a feature. So this means we get about 6 scenes of Roman being mocked by his co-workers, 15 scenes of him looking out the window, some 4569766 of him making pork n beans, etc. It’s one thing to draw tension and develop character, but when that character is doing the same thing over and over, it’s not really progressing anything except the audience’s boredom.

Plus, unlike Spiral, there is no mystery as to whether or not Roman is a killer. So I don’t really like him right from the start. Kind of a problem when he’s pretty much the only character in the movie they bother to develop. After he kills a girl (Kristen Bell) early on, another one comes along. She is also annoying, because she’s a hippie who puts twigs and leaves in her hair and makes Roman take her to performance art. Bell wasn’t too bad, but this broad I actually wanted him to kill, so naturally he doesn’t do that. Thanks, movie.

This movie was also shot on DV, so it’s far from enjoyable from an aesthetic point of view either. And what’s with DV filmmakers always having people look into camera and/or shooting entire scenes from one angle? You have unlimited and cheap stock in which to make your film – why not experiment a bit with different angles and such? Director Angela Bettis could have shot this the exact same way on film on a low budget for sure. The commentary doesn’t explain why they used DV, or at least, it didn’t in the time I spent listening to it, which admittedly wasn’t long since it was generally boring “trivia” like “That’s Eddie Steeples, you might know him from the Staples commercial.”

So there’s really not a lot to recommend here. The acting is good, and the end has a nice little twist involving the hippie character’s “art installation”, but that’s not really enough to make up for the snail’s pace, excessive padding, and generally lazy videomaking. I really dug May (which was also written by Lucky McKee), so I was hoping this one would be at least almost as good, but no such luck. If nothing else, it proves that Bettis should star and Lucky should direct (as they did in May), not the other way around.

What say you?


  1. Uh oh, I better not take you to any more performance art.

  2. Just saw "Roman" and was actually impressed by the moody overtones to the whole flick that were strangely heightened by a haunting score. Its completely realistic take took the film to a plateau of actual, unsettling horror, rather than opting for an easy (all too unoriginal) campy out. The previous critic on this site must be turned on by all of those nervous nelly horror films that have to resort to overtness to prove a point of phony cool. When I watch a horror film, I rather like for it to engrosse and disturb me, which is truly what"Roman" did. Themes of actual death and narcisistically wanting to own other people were definitely brought to a weird and creepy conclusion that is more likely to make a person think about how dirt spottish life can become when dealing with one's own doldrums. I understand how some might want to view a film that is not so rough cut, but this only adds to the films intense intent. It reminds me more of older Horror films, where the the intent is to strangely effect an individual viewer by immersing them in a simply perverted fantasy. Way for the filmakers to stick to their guns. Hollywood formulas can actually disease the subtle emotional themes that drive a film like "Roman".

  3. wow, this movie was baaaaaaaad! Boring and predictable at times, it has moments of suspense, not necessarily scary suspenseful, but i was curious at times. Overall it falls flat and I wouldn't recommend it (and I watch and recommend alot of thrillers). Its not even in Spirals league

  4. I was fairly impressed with the movie. I'm really into horror movies, but so many of them are sooo similar and and easy to predict. The newer movies usually kind of fail on the "scary" scale. Roman, though... Its realistic view of everything kind of psyched me out. It wasn't exactly scary, but I found it deeply disturbing, more so than movies such as the Saw series. I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to others.


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