Reviews in Brief: “The Dead Room” (2015)

thedeadroom1The Dead Room is a short movie (not short enough to be a short film, but still a movie which is short) about three paranormal investigators who are engaged in investigating the paranormal. Liam, Scott, and Holly are a team of ghosthunters who come to an isolated New Zealand farmhouse to document a supposed haunting. And document they do, and of course things escalate.

It’s only 80 minutes long, but in that short running time it does a lot with very little. The film is largely two things: standard poltergeisty stuff (furniture moving, loud noises, footsteps in the hall) which gradually increases in violence; and dialogue. The former is fine, and they accomplish it with a merciful lack of computer effects, evoking classic haunting films of yore. Nothing new, but that’s okay. Thankfully, the dialogue is sharp, the acting is decent, the characters are surprisingly well realized, and I cared about what happened to them.

There are no real surprises here, except maybe a third-act “twist” that isn’t that much of a twist, and the film is largely interchangeable with any number of other horror/supernatural thriller films of the past fifty years and more. But it proves that it’s possible to deliver something comfortably familiar without it seeming stale, and the filmmakers deserve credit for that.

Having said that, nothing much happens. The paranormal stuff mostly comes at night, mostly. The rest of the film is talk. If that’s not your dish, you might not enjoy this. But if you’re patient, The Dead Room can be an enjoyable enough 80 minutes.


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