Having just reviewed director Jon Keeyes film THE HARROWING I was intrigued when DOOM ROOM, which appeared to be a new film from him, came my way. However it seems this isn’t a new film at all, it’s NIGHTMARE BOX, a film that saw release at least to some festivals back in 2013.
A woman (Johanna Stanton) wakes up in a strangely furnished room with no idea of how she got there, where “there” is or even who she is. The door looks like something from a solitary confinement cell so there’s no just walking out.
But there does seem to be a way in and out as various entities such as Husband (Matthew Tompkins HIGH MOON, THE SECTOR), Wife (Debbie Rochon BLOODY BALLET, KILLER RACK) and Innocence (Hayden Tweedie) pop in and out to torment her. Are they supernatural beings? Is she insane? Drugged? Whatever the circumstances, she needs to figure out who and where she is if she hopes to survive. But there’s no guarantee the truth will be good news.
Shot in a manner that frequently resembles a filmed stage play both in style and in content, DOOM ROOM is a bizarre film. It feels more like an art film gone astray than an actual genre piece. The plot is certainly mentally captivating through its twists and turns. The slow unravelling of the plot is well handled, with co-writers Keeyes and Carl Kirshner letting the pieces fall together slowly and logically.
The final reveal though may become fairly obvious towards the end. It may have been more novel when it was filmed, but a couple of films have explored similar themes this year. There’s a post-credit sequence but it didn’t seem to change or reveal much.
Johanna Stanton deserves a lot of credit for carrying the weight of DOOM ROOM on her shoulders. Her performance as the unnamed woman, (she’s referred to as Jane Doe in the credits). So much of the film’s effectiveness depends on her being credible during the increasingly bizarre goings-on. She manages to not only be believable but work up a good bit of sympathy as well.
An interesting mind game of a movie, DOOM ROOM will be released to digital January 15 from Wild Eye Releasing