The Devil in the Room (2020) Review
The Devil in the Room begins with a woman stressing out about something. We know her name is Jenny (Kate Darby) because she’s busy telling herself to get it together. She keeps trying to call somebody, but just gets voicemail. She decides a candlelight bath will relax her. She nods off only to wake up with contact lens that make her look possessed, plugs in a hairdryer and the screen goes black.
When her sister Amanda (Skye Coyne) and her husband Cameron (Isaac Gonzalez Rossi, The Hunter’s Circle) come to pack her stuff up, they find a strange figure Jenny picked up on her travels. Amanda keeps it as a reminder of her sister. Pretty soon, their career obsessed lives are being interrupted by nightmares and other weird nocturnal events. Obviously, something hitched a ride to their house along with that figure. Could it be Satan? Or maybe Frank the Demon (Kellan Rudnicki, The Invited)?
Directors Sami Cunningham (The Haunting of the Suicide House) and Brendan Rudnicki (The Haunting of the Morgan Estate) and their co-writer Kellan Rudnicki should have this down cold. Brendan owns DBS Publishing and formed DBS Films to adapt what he publishes. He and most of the cast and crew of The Devil in the Room have had a hand in several of these hour long, straight to streaming productions.
Unfortunately, they deliver a film that wastes its potential in a lot of repetitive scenes and incredibly dull padding. There is no excuse for that in a film this short, but there it is. Much of the first part of The Devil in the Room is taken up with a montage of Amanda doing housework, sitting on the dock behind their house or building a fire in their huge fire pit. The only scary thing about it is what their mortgage must be.
That’s followed by repeated scenes of Amanda having nightmares involving her sister and Frank, waking up screaming and being comforted by Cameron. You can only pull that so many times before it stops working, especially in such a short time frame.
I will say that the makeup for Frank is well done, he looks a lot like his obvious inspiration, skinless Frank from Hellraiser. Unfortunately, apart from a gory disembowelment, all he gets to do most of the time is pop up and say “BOO!” in nightmares. It might not be a waste of good suffering, but it is a waste of good effects.
The script also relies on some incredible coincidences, such as Jenny’s missing luggage, complete with her notes on the demon, being delivered to her sister’s house. Or Dr. Geubuex (Bryan Jager) immediately guessing that the problem is a litch (not to be confused with The Litch) brought here from a foreign country. I guess America doesn’t have any home-grown demons.
However, the biggest problem with The Devil in the Room is saved for the end. You’ve heard me complain when films tease showing some skin. Well, this film not only does that, it goes a step further and teases having an ending. Seriously, it seems to end during the showdown with the demon. If you want to call that talk fest, a showdown.
On a more amusing note, one of the three rave reviews on IMDB for the film is from Kellan Rudnicki himself. Apparently, their shilling for the film is as incompetent as the film itself.
Available to stream, The Devil in the Room has a couple of good jumps and some nice effects, but they’re lost in a dull and rather silly script. If you want an effective film about sleep paralysis, there’s Come True or Night Mære, among others.