DVD Review: The Disappointments Room

By , Contributor
Kate Beckinsale must've owed someone a favor. How else to explain to her starring in horror bust The Disappointments Room in the same year she's received award season recognition for her role in Whit Stillman's Love & Friendship? And on the eve of the next installment of her Underworld series? Director D.J. Caruso will almost certainly find a great deal more success with his upcoming xXx: Return of Xander Cage than he did with the haunted house flop The Disappointments Room. It's now available on DVD (and DVD only, no Blu-ray release for this turkey) via Fox Home Entertainment.

In fact, Beckinsale is probably the only really recommendable element here. She turns in a sturdy enough performance as Dana, a woman who recently lost a young child. She and her husband David (Mel Raido), along with their surviving offspring Lucas (Duncan Joiner), are getting a fresh start. But not long after they move into their new (to them, at least; it's quite old in reality) Gothic mansion, weird things begin happening. It soon becomes clear to Dana that the house is haunted.

Director Caruso, working from a screenplay by actor Wentworth Miller (whose 2013 Stoker is his sole previous writing credit—and it's the better film), trudges through the usual demonic-house cliches. The whole concept of the so-called "disappointments room" is a starting point for a potentially creepy horror flick. Apparently there is a factual basis for such rooms that dates back to a far less enlightened time. At one point in history, some people had rooms that were essentially solitary confinement cells for offspring with severe disabilities or deformities. The house Dana and her family have moved into has such a room.

But the whole movie is one big non-starter. Lucas Till (Havok in the three most-recent X-Men films) co-stars as a local handyman who takes a not-so-wholesome interest in Dana. Proceed with great caution unless you're a die-hard fan of Till or Beckinsale. The DVD contains a four-minute featurette that attempts to sell The Disappointments Room as a must-see chiller.
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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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