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The Dead Room

The Dead Room: Haunted House Horror is Heavy on Atmosphere, Light on Everything Else

reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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The Dead Room: Haunted House Horror is Heavy on Atmosphere, Light on Everything Else

It should come as no great surprise to find another lazily put-together haunted-house horror on the big screen – they come thick and fast these days. Contrived, predictable and free of any kind of electricity, Jason Stutter’s The Dead Room ­– a story inspired by an urban legend surrounding an old abandoned farmhouse located in central Otago, New Zealand – is nothing more than a scare-less and, overall pointless, bore.

The story follows three paranormal investigators who are called upon to investigate a recently abandoned farmhouse, having received numerous reports of various paranormal activities. In order to fully examine the house and capture whatever’s lingering around, the team move in and set up their ghost-catching gear, including motion-detecting cameras and infra-red sensors. You know the drill. 

Scientist Scott (Peterson) and his tech-wiz assistant, Liam (Thomas) are sceptical about their latest gig, though Holly (Brophy) – a sensitive psychic – thinks that they might be onto something. Naturally, it doesn’t take long for things to go bump in the night – furniture is moved and chandeliers swung – however, neither Scott nor Liam are convinced that there is an obvious threat present, despite Holly’s continual visions of ‘something’ running through the house every night at 3AM.

There’s a lot of waiting around in the story’s first half as the three investigators spend most of the time sitting, talking and, well, waiting. The mood is right – ominous and lingering – however, the inevitable jump scares, which are of course an integral part of the storyline, dampen the experience as soon as they are arise, leading the way to a disappointingly twisty end. Stutter’s script relies purely on the mood and use of the new Rumble sound technology – which is meant to amplify the whole experience but does so in an almost undetectable way – to create the desired effect. The problem is that there’s not enough to the plot to make the mood count – it’s like a salad dressing without the salad.

Peterson proves to be a reliable lead, however, offering a genuine portrayal of someone haunted by her visions – which in actual fact we never get to see – whilst her two co-stars never really register as someone the audience should care about; which is pretty much the same thing we could say about The Dead Room as a whole. 

Like This? Try

The Invitation (2015), Decay (2015), They Look Like People (2015)

360 Tip

Film makers visited the real farmhouse during preproduction and experienced strange problems with their video equipment. Spooky.

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