I'll give Christine Taylor some real credit for appearing in the low-budget thriller Room 6. Here we have the wife of one of Hollywood's most well-paid funnymen (Ben Stiller); not to be sexist or anything, but Christine Taylor certainly doesn't need to keep working to pay the gas bills. But here she is in a low-end little psycho-thriller called Room 6, doing all she can to elevate the tiresome material and deliver a strong performance.
She fails pretty miserably, but she gives it a great shot, running and screaming and gasping and shrieking her way through a feature-length Twilight Zone concept that's as dry and predictable as it is intermittently hilarious. Some fair credit is also due to filmmakers Mark Altman and Mike Hurst, who, after giving the world House of the Dead, House of the Dead 2 and Mansquito, were clearly aiming for something a bit more plot-focused and intelligent than their normal monster-fests.
And you know what? A third (and final) dose of praise is due to the Almost Human gang for doing some pretty strong make-up work with what must have been a pretty small budget. Not all of the effects are flawless, but the ones that work (particularly a few freaky demon-heads) work pretty damn well.
If only I had a few more doses of praise to deliver regarding Room 6...
Plot in a nutshell: Amy and her boyfriend Nick have a nasty car accident, and Nick gets carted off in an ambulance. But when Amy checks in at the nearest hospitals ... nobody's even heard of Nick! Yikes! And then up pops a nice guy named Lucas, and he's in the exact same boat: His sister has gone missing, last seen being carted off in ... an ambulance! What's going on here?
(Those who've seen the Eric Roberts flick The Ambulance are exempt from answering the above question.)
So Amy and Nick begin a rather drab series of searches, several of which are punctuated by unsettling visions of demons and/or extended dream sequences that exist only to drag the skimpy narrative to a halt. Eventually the truth comes out, and of course it does involve bloodthirsty demons, haunted hospitals, and a twist ending that you'll see coming two miles away.
Toss in a screenplay laden with leaden conversations and unintentional howlers, combined with a collection of sadly unconvincing performances, and you're looking at Room 6, a goofball chiller that's not so much awful as it is disposably silly. Taylor's performance consists mainly of mumbled dialogue and non-stop shrieking, and her co-stars (Shane Brolly* and Jerry O'Connell) seem more than a little bored with the whole project.
(* I could be nuts, but Brolly's name seems to be misspelled on the DVD cover. Weird.)
Video: The flick's presented in a rather clean and crisp anamorphic widescreen (1.77:1) format, particularly considering the low-budget nature of the movie.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0. English captions are available.
Writer/director Mike Hurst and writer/producer Mark Altman contribute a feature-length audio commentary, which I think is a bit more entertaining than the main feature. The guys are effusive and passionate about their flick, which is admirable (even if I didn't much care for the thing), plus they freely admit that Room 6 was "heavily inspired" by Jacob's Ladder, so at least they're not afraid to admit who they're borrowing from.
Hospital from Hell is a healthy 40-minute behind-the-scenes / interview collection piece that, again, just might be more enjoyable than the movie itself. Also included is a Room 6 trailer, the screenplay in DVD-ROM form, and some Anchor Bay previews for Masters of Horror, Demon Hunter, It Waits, and The Fallen Ones.
Alternately dry, familiar, silly, and (occasionally) a little bit creepy, Room 6 is a big step up from something like House of the Dead 2 ... but it's a pretty tiresome affair all the same. If you're a hardcore horror completist, I'd say it might be worth a Netflix rental, but that's about it.