Over the years I have found myself needing to share living expenses with another person. Back in 1996, I was lucky enough to actually get a friend of mine as a roommate in college. I have had some good roomies come and go, but the worst part was when my friends left, and I got someone I truly didn’t know. We just did not mesh well, and it made living in the dorm completely stressful. It wasn’t the worst experience ever, and certainly wasn’t life-threatening, but still not something I would want to do ever again.
Unlike the girls in the new film, Room 203. Their roommate was a vengeful spirit.
On the surface, Room 203 sounds like a movie that has already been done before. John Cusack had a movie come out in 2007 called 1408. The similarities are there, but Room 203 is far from an exact replica. The film focuses on two friends, Kim (Francesca Xuereb) and Izzy (Viktoria Vinyarska).
Izzy’s mom committed suicide in the not-so-distant past and has struggled with the emotional issues that brought her. Kim left her parents after choosing to be there for Izzy. Being the girls are broke college students, they find Room 203 to be one of the only places in their price range. The apartment is owned by Ronan (Scott Gremillion), a very creepy landlord.
Soon after moving in, the friends begin experiencing strange occurrences and Izzy appears to be the focus of the vengeful spirit that dwells within.
Director Ben Jagger decided with Room 203 to follow a route that focuses on two things: scares and cares. For the latter, he worked hard on conveying the deep friendship between Izzy and Kim. These women come across as lifelong best friends, who would give up anything for each other. But as the movie progresses, it is shown that Kim had a secret that she held from Izzy, and once it is exposed, it wrecks the already emotionally damaged Izzy. I felt like I was watching the end of this bond.
And I will be honest with you… I felt it. I felt the hurt Izzy was facing.
The scares in Room 203 are nothing to really write home about. It is never really explained in depth where the evil ghost came from. It was just glossed over. This was a huge misstep by Director Jagger. He did a masterful job in pulling the audience into the lives of the roommates, but then avoids the “horror” aspect of this horror film. The film suffers from this greatly.
What scares we get are kinda lackluster, as if the filmmakers were just going through the motions. I found myself feeling like I was watching a “sad friend drama” and not a creepy horror flick.
I have to give Room 203 three out of five stars. It is labeled as a horror movie but felt more like a friendship drama with some scares thrown in to add flavor. Still, their friendship is portrayed (both in the script and by actresses Xuereb and Vinyarska) flawlessly. Honestly, I was almost in tears at some points, because I felt the emotional pain. Director Ben Jagger might have a future in Hollywood, he but needs to refine some aspects of his “scary” storytelling.
Jason Kittrell is the owner of Kittrell Entertainment Group (KEG). He also streams weekly on Twitch at https://twitch.tv/warlockofwifi and on YouTube at https://youtube.com/warlockofwifi.