A nameless woman (Johanna Stanton) wakes up in a locked room in some place or another (she has no fuckin’ clue, and neither do we). I guess that’s cool…just chill the F out and get to really know yourself kind of ‘sitch…of course she has shit-all as far as memories are concerned…and she’s not really alone. You see these “beings” with catchy handles such as Husband (Matthew Tompkins), Wife (genre legend Debbie Rochon) and Innocence (Hayden Tweedie) keep appearing in the room to give our heroine static. Who or what are they? How did they get in there? Is our protagonist encountering demons or is she merely insane? Those questions will have to be answered with the fuckin’ quickness if our Jane Doe is going to make it through this ordeal!
Comprised of a style that could best be described as arthouse with a sprinkle of grindhouse for flavor; Doom Room is one odd duck of a fright flick. The entire production is visualized with sparse aesthetics and a small cast…and it’s that intimacy that makes the tale so affecting. Co-Writer/Director Jon Keeyes (along with Co-Writer Carl Kirshner) have crafted a deliberate psychological thriller that lays it’s pieces down in a calculated manner…and that pace keeps the viewer engaged throughout the entirety of the mystery.
Speaking of that mystery…that is a thing made visceral and tactile thanks to the strong acting turn from Stanton as our heroine; the focus is on her for the lion’s share of the runtime, and she does a fantastic job of getting the audience to sympathize with her plight while acting as our surrogate into the strangeness at hand.
If there is a negative to be had here, it’s that the resolution of the picture may not seem as fresh as it did when the film was first released. Now I can here you lascivious lot now: “But XIII, ain’t this a new fright flick?!!” To that I say…not even close! Sure, the title is new, but this thing was originally released in 2013 as Nightmare Box…and without giving anything away; the ending was probably fresh as a daisy back then, but similar stories have been explored on the ol’ silver screen in the years since.
If you’re lookin’ for a bit of mystery and psychological thrills n’ spills with you fright flick, I’d urge you to give Doom Room a go…it’s visually unique, well acted, and entertaining to boot!
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