29th Jul2021

‘Room 9’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Kane Hodder, Michael Berryman, Scout Taylor-Compton, Brian Anthony Wilson, Tony Devon, Michael Emery, David M. Raine, Adam Ratcliffe, Steve Nappe | Written and Directed by Thomas Walton

Long ago, Room 9 of the Johnson/Bedford Inn, located in a remote small town, was the site of a gruesome double murder. Decades later, with the town terrorized once again by a string of bloody ritual killings, a mysterious woman named Star arrives to investigate and suffers bizarre flashbacks related to the inn’s slayings. Is she connected to the killings…or the inn’s next victim?

I’m not going to lie, I was attracted to Room 9 – the debut feature of writer/director Thomas Walton – purely on the basis that it featured three performers whose names are synonymous with horror: Kane Hodder, Michael Berryman and Scout Taylor-Compton. Now I’m not stupid, I figured that, whilst Scout Taylor-Compton is the films lead, Hodder and Berryman would probably be cameo roles; and on that front I wasn’t wrong.

What I was wrong about was deciding to give Room 9 a go….

I should’ve known what I was in for right from the get-go. We’re shown the credits, they roll over the prologue part of the film, but then Walton decides to give us a strange interlude – where you’d assume the films titles would go – that features weird visuals of someone carrying a cross up a hill; either a demon or man in a mask walking back down that hill; and a dove flying into the sky… All intercut with overlays of flames bursting into the air as a death metal-isn song plays on the soundtrack. And that’s only the tip of this strange iceberg of horror nonsense.

Imagine being a filmmaker and deciding to use grain filters, VHS-style glitches, dust/dirt effects, 4:3 frame mattes and a variety of odd colour-grading choices for ALL your flashback scenes. And then imagine each individual scene switching back and forward between all these effects like someone with ADHD was in charge of editing and effects… In fact Room 9 uses all those visual effects and MORE during the films prologue in a vain attempt to make us believe we’re back in 1979. Why? Just why? They completely distract from the film. But maybe that’s the point? There’s little substance here so maybe distraction is all Walton had?

Whatever he had, he NEEDED a better script. He also needed to bring in his LEAD ACTRESS before two-thirds of the film had played out! What the hell was anyone involved in this production thinking? Hell, Room 9 goes on for over an hour before it even get to anything that feels like actual plot! Oh and when we do get the plot, it’s 90 minutes(!) into the film before we get any explanation of what we’ve been watching. And by explanation I mean we get the antagonist of the film delivering a monologue about what he’s done and why he did it. Utterly ridiculous!

How bad is Room 9? Well let’s just say that someone involved with this films production must have had dirt on someone at Lionsgate for them to release this film in the US…


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