Dragged into the back of a van after a night out on the town, Kyra wakes up in a dilapidated old torture house with two other women. The only way out, they are told, is via ‘the Red Room.’ Release, of course, isn’t really on the cards, and so the kidnappees must attempt to figure their way out of the house before it’s too late…
An Irish cross between Hostel and The Seasoning House, minus any sense of real transgression, Red Room is the sort of low-budget horror film that rarely gets made anymore; a throwback to a period when stories about violent rape and torture were all the rage. That’s not to say they don’t exist, or are even really going out of style, but after that initial boom that brought us the exquisitely, artistically shocking films of the late 2000s… well, what’s the point?
‘What’s the point?’ is the burning question at the heart of Red Room, which is deeply unpleasant from the title down, and stays in that zone throughout. It’s like Split without the central hook, as though the Horde had spent the whole time punching a bunch of near-naked women in the face for the whole time. This makes for an exhausting, depressing slog through a mire of exploitative misery, which even fans of extreme horror will likely find boring, due to its many clichés and lack of invention.
The film is well-directed by Stephen Gaffney, and packs in solid performances from its cast, but it doesn’t do anything new - nor is it even that shocking or scary, in spite of its impressive gore effects and brooding visuals. Red Room does what it does effectively enough, but that doesn’t make it any less horrible. But then, maybe that’s the point.
RED ROOM / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: STEPHEN GAFFNEY / SCREENPLAY: STEPHEN GAFFNEY, ERICA KEEGAN / STARRING: BRIAN FORTUNE, EDDIE JACKSON, CRISTINA RYAN, RODRIGO TERNEVOY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (US), TBC (UK)