Friday, May 26, 2006

2006 SF HOLEHEAD—Room 6

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At a time when most people are terrified that they will not be able to afford hospital care, Michael Hurst's Room 6 cautions that hospital care might actually be the ultimate horror! Like Jacob's Ladder, Room 6 ruminates upon a bardo state, setting it in a haunted hospital—St. Rosemary's—where ambulances deliver accident victims who are never heard from again! I'm not the only one who's made that comparison. Room 6 has been described as "Jacob's Ladder meets The Sixth Sense." Which is to admit that it's somewhat derivative but competent enough to engage, largely through a capable acting ensemble and startling make-up effects. Besides, Bruce Fletcher is providing a rare opportunity to see the world premiere of this movie projected onto a big screen since it's going directly to dvd next month. That opportunity alone is worth the price of admission!

Staci Layne Wilson details the dvd release and interviews Christine Taylor who plays Amy Roberts, "a young woman troubled by visions which torment her dreams and cloud her waking judgment." If Amy's not bolting upright in bed startled by a dream within a dream, she's gasping at briefly-glimpsed horrors behind the surface of things. As a trivia tidbit, Wilson notes that Linda Vista—the hospital used in Room 6 and allegedly truly haunted—was also the location of Freddy Kruger's boiler room, and is the site of the upcoming ghost flick, Boo.

Married to comedic actor Ben Stiller and 5½ months pregnant during the 18-day shoot, Taylor cornered the role of Amy, who she describes as "completely confused throughout the movie", not knowing how much of what is happening to her is real and how much is fake but trying to find a balance. As the trailer attests, what begins as an accident becomes a mystery and who can Amy trust when she can't trust herself? Her hallucinatory quest for answers allows for lesbian zombie nurse orgies and Twilight Zone-style timeloops where you keep ending up where you started; the anxious repetitions of nightmares.

R. L. Shaffer reviews the dvd's production values and details its extras for dvdfuture.com, as does Rees Savidis for Arrow In the Head. So what's Savidis' last call? "At the end of the day if it's a perfectly entertaining (albeit instantly forgettable) little demon-infused time-waster you're after, you could do a hell-of-a-lot worse than Room 6."

Though I really wanted Room 6 to be a wry genre skewer of the horrific state of American health care, it's really just a director's phobia as Hurst admitted to Patrick Lee, News Editor for scifi.com: "How many buildings are there in society where you go in and you might not come out? Not many. So hospitals, like, they f--king freak me out. So . . . the whole thing's based on my incredible fear of hospitals. That's where the whole idea started from."

The world premiere of Room 6 takes place at Holehead on Sunday, June 11, 2006, 2:30 at the Roxie Film Center.

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