Directed by Mike Hurst
Produced by Mark A. Altman, Mark Gottwald
Written by Mike Hurst and Mark A. Altman
Director of Photograpy Raymond Stella
Music by Joe Kraemer
Cast: Christine Taylor, Jerry O'Connell, Shane Brolley, Mary Pat Gleason
2006/94 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1.77:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD
There's an old saying in Hollywood which states, "You're only as good as your last film." In other words, no matter how successful you've been in the past, you're only judged on your most recent work. (Clearly, this nugget isn't true, as people such as Sharon Stone and Demi Moore continue to be "celebrities" when they haven't made a watchable film in years (or ever)). So, what if your a filmmaker whose last few films were really bad? How are you judged? Obviously, viewers may not expect much from current projects. However, this can be a good thing. The team behind ROOM 6 has been responsible for some real stinkers in the last few years, but given their track-record, this film comes across as pretty good.
ROOM 6 tells the story of Amy (Christine Taylor), who is having a pretty bad day. Her live-in boyfriend, Nick (Shane Brolly), takes her completely off guard by proposing to her (leading to an awkward situation) and she's hassled by an angry parent at the school where she works. Things get much worse when she and Nick are involved in an auto accident later that day. An ambulance arrives immediately and whisks Nick away, the driver informing Amy that she can't ride with them and never mentioning where he is taking Nick. Amy, who has had a severe phobia of hospitals since her childhood, is then forced to check every hospital in the city seeking Nick, but she doesn't find him. During her search, she encounters Lucas (Jerry O'Connell), the driver of the other car involved in the wreck. He's in a predicament similar to Amy's, as he can't locate his sister, who had been riding with him. As Amy continues her search, she begins to have horrific visions and fears that Nick may be in serious danger.
ROOM 6 is one of those unoriginal films that would be most enjoyed by viewers who have never, ever seen another movie in their entire life. However, any seasoned viewer will immediately pick up on the points in the film which are similar to other movies. The idea of accident victims being spirited off by an ambulance to an unknown location is taken directly from Larry Cohen's THE AMBULANCE. (Which, if you haven't seen, I highly recommend for Eric Robert's "performance".) The bulk of the film is reminiscent of any "mindf&*k" movie where we're not sure if what the main character is experiencing is real. The film also features not one, but two, scenes in which a conscious but immobilized patient is about to undergo surgery -- this brings back memories of the "Don't let them bury me...I'm not dead" scene from THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW. The movie avoids the label of "rip-off" due to its patchwork construction, but it's certainly far from groundbreaking.
And given the track record of those behind the camera on ROOM 6, it wouldn't be surprising to see the movie be well on its way to being a real stinker. Producer/co-writer Mark A. Altman has worked on such classics as HOUSE OF THE DEAD, ALL SOULS DAY, and HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2. Director/co-writer Michael Hurst has become a working partner with Altman, having directed HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 and both are involved in several upcoming horror projects. Considering the reputation of HOUSE OF THE DEAD (all of the blame can't rest on Uwe Boll's shoulders...but most of it probably should) and the rancid mess that was HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2, the fact that ROOM 6 is even in focus should be considered a small miracle. Even more surprising is the fact that the movie is actually entertaining and interesting, if you can get around the movie's uninspired core ideas.
Altman and Hurst's script may not be original, but it is well-structured. While the viewers is given some information about Nick's whereabouts and his situation, ROOM 6 still does a good job of making Amy's search for him interesting. We are thrown in with Amy as she tries to find Nick and the story unravels at a satisfying pace. The film is also bolstered by its cast. It was surprising to see Mrs. Ben Stiller in this film, but Christine Taylor does a pretty good job of carrying this horror film. Also, casting Jerry O'Connell seems like an odd choice, but he's fine as Lucas -- especially given the fact that we aren't sure if Amy should trust Lucas. Shane Brolly, known to horror fans as Kraven from the UNDERWORLD films, has only a small role, but he's good as well. The film is essentially a psychological thriller with heavy supernatural overtones, but there are some interesting monsters glimpsed in the movie and at least one nice gory scene.
So, ROOM 6 is definitely a step forward for the CFQ Films team. The movie may owe a lot to other films, but at least I never felt the urge to fast forward. The movie does stumble at the end, as Amy's back story doesn't make a lot of sense and the final twist is an old trick, but this won't make most viewers regret having watched it. You won't want to move into ROOM 6, but it is worth renting for a while.
Reservations are made for ROOM 6 on DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.77:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Given the film's low-budget nature, the image looks pretty good. The picture is sharp and clear, showing basically no grain nor any defects from the source material. The image has a nice depth to it and the picture is quite stable. The colors look good and the action is visible in the darker scenes. Some video noise did intrude at times, but otherwise the transfer is fine. The DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which is also pretty good. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects with no distortion. The use of surround sound effects and subwoofer action adds to the film's effectiveness, as the "jump" scenes offer audio from every speaker.
The ROOM 6 DVD contains a few extras. We start with an Audio Commentary from director/co-writer Michael Hurst and producer/co-writer Mark A. Altman. This is an adequate commentary, as the two competently describe the making of the film, giving detailed accounts of the casting, locations, and the economic nature of shooting a low-budget film. But, as with their commentary on HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2, the talk rambles along at times, and it's also a bit too self-congratulatory. This movie is OK, but not that good. "Hosptial From Hell" (41 minutes) is an in-depth making of featurette which contains a ton of behind-the-scenes footage and examines many aspects of the film's production including the actors, the stunts, the lighting, and the special-effects makeup. The only other extra is a trailer for ROOM 6.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©