Room 6 – Horror Film Review

This is an adequate time-killer that strives to merge Hitchcockian elements into a nightmarish horror movie scenario. The premise is interesting (a woman tracks down her boyfriend, who was whisked away in a mysterious ambulance after an automobile accident), but the mystery is slow to unfold and the scenario soon grows repetitious. The filmmakers seem to realize this, as they insert numerous jump-scare scenes in which our heroine sees ordinary people suddenly turn into monsters warning her to give up the search. The conspiracy is a little too vast to be believable – every one is in on it – but the twist ending helps justify this.

The low-budget production values – including some judicious stunts and wire-work to suggest supernatural powers – are effective. There is some decent atmosphere, thanks largely to the venerable Linda Vista Hospital, where much of the film was shot, including a nifty nighttime scene during which a frightened patient gets only brief glimpses (in the wavering beam of his flashlight) of the horror being perpetrated across the room.

Sadly, this effective scare technique is balance by crude exploitation, as when the hospital nurses disrobe and feed each other the blood samples they have been taking from the patients (a scene that looks as if it were dropped in to please a distributor demanding some nudity before purchasing the pic).

The briefly glimpsed monster makeup is good. Special effects are limited and variable. The over-used image of monsters flicking their CGI- tongues should have been trimmed back. Highlight is an exterior shot of an empty lot that, in flashes of lightening reveals the facade of a hospital that burned down decades earlier – a truly eerie visual almost worth the price of a rental on its own.

Performances are competent, but the characterizations do not fully emerge. Christine Taylor tries hard to fill out the role of a desperate heroine who is also battling demons from her past, but she is not strong enough to carry a film that paints her character as mostly helpless and ineffectual. Jerry O’Connell gives about what you would expect from an actor lending his name to a low-budgeter  in exchange for a paycheck; he’s not bad, but he’s not giving it his all, either.

Fans of  THE BOB NEWHART SHOW will be tickled to see Jack Riley (”Mr. Carlin”) in a small part as one of the hospital victims, a group that also includes John Billingsley, recently seen in the excellent science fiction film THE MAN FROM EARTH.

ROOM 6 (2006). Directed by Michael Hurts. Written by Mark A. Altman & Michael Hurst. Cast: Christine Taylor, Shane Brolly, Chloe Moretz, Jerry O’Connell, Elle Cornell, Jimmy Shubert, Lisa Ann walter, Marshall Bell, John Billingsley, Jack Riley.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This film was produced by Cinefantastique Online’s parent company, CFQ Media.

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Patrick Hobby

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