NEW YORK (CNS) — Mixing a psychological drama with the dependable haunted-house formula must have sounded appealing to the makers of “The Disappointments Room” (Rogue).
Unfortunately, nothing in this morally bereft story works. A meandering plot line about the effects of grief and depression following the loss of an infant goes nowhere, and the haunting consists of a single room in a creaky old mansion occupied by three 19th-century wraiths from the spirit world.
For good measure, there are a couple of spooky fireproof portraits that glower like castoffs from the 1966 Don Knotts comedy “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.” The result is both stale and jolt-free.
Architect Dana (Kate Beckinsale), husband David (Mel Raido) and their 5-year-old son Lucas (Duncan Joiner), grieving the death of an infant daughter, have moved from the city to the Blacker house. It’s leaky, it’s creaky, and Dana intends to fix it up as she restores her mental health.
They appear not to have done any kind of due diligence, since Dana shortly finds that there’s a locked attic room about which she’s known nothing, and which occasionally omits eerie noises.
This, she learns from grizzled local records-keeper Judith (Marcia Derousse), was the original owner’s “disappointments room,” where the well-to-do kept children with physical deformities imprisoned and out of sight before they died of neglect.
Grumpy Mr. Blacker, his wife and doomed daughter occasionally pop up, Mr. Blacker always with murderous intent, and the plot is supposed to be further complicated by Dana’s decision to stop taking her antidepressants. That way, the audience is not supposed to know whether she’s hallucinating.
Director D.J. Caruso, who co-wrote the screenplay with Wentworth Miller, puts Dana and Lucas into peril a few times, but relies on cliches, including a possessed black dog and even bats in the attic.
The film contains a scene of attempted suicide, occasional gore, physical violence and fleeting rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103