The Disappointments Room: A Fittingly Titled Messs of Haunted House Cliches
Devoid of any real scares, D.J Caruso’s fittingly titled, The Disappointments Room, plays heavy on haunted-house clichés and the much-explored female hysteria of the is-there-really-something-out-there-or-is-she-just-losing-the-plot kind of film, which, thanks to an incoherent script and flimsy setup, doesn’t amount to too much of anything in the end.
After experiencing the loss of a child, architect Dana (Beckinsale rocking a blonde look) and husband David (Raido) decide to leave the comfort of their Brooklyn home with their son Lucas (Joiner) and head out to the countryside where they can hope to start a new life.
Setting up shop in a beautiful but run-down estate, the couple looks forward to taking on the renovations, David hopes will serve as a distraction to the still-tormented Dana. As it turns out, Dana is soon distracted by something else altogether in the house when she discovers a hidden room behind a cabinet that doesn’t seem to be on any of the house’s blueprints. It’s there where she begins to feel an ominous and violent presence, before discovering that she has come by the ‘The Disappointments Room’ which was used for imprisoning and murdering disfigured children.
The atmosphere is relatively fitting and Caruso – who co-wrote the script Prison Break’s very own star-turned-screenwriter Wentworth Miller – manages to keep the suspense of whether Dana’s really seeing what she’s seeing or is she hallucinating it all. Things soon take a turn into the direction of predictability and clichés, before finally diving into a pool of silly and ill-conceived ideas.
Offering very little payoff to the somewhat sustained and purposeful build-up of Dana’s world of spirits, The Disappointments Room benefits slightly from having Beckinsale on board and she offers a relatively solid turn as the grieving mother whose sanity is questioned throughout the entire time. However, whilst the British heroine brings a certain gravitas to the screen, her character – as everyone else in the movie – is so thinly drawn that it is ultimately difficult to really care for what happens to her. With very little scares to back up its cause, The Disappointment Room is, as the title so aptly suggests, quite disappointing.