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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Room 205
Room 205
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // October 14, 2008
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Justin Felix | posted October 18, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

On October 14, 2008, Lionsgate, the home video distributor of quite a lot of low budget horror films, released a series of eight movies under the banner Ghost House Underground. These eight films can be purchased separately or collectively in a boxed set. The packaging of each disc includes a clear plastic slipcover with the Ghost House Underground logo emblazoned on the right and a screaming skull underneath. It looks garish but admittedly kind of cool too. To be honest, these flicks seem a lot like another round of After Dark Horrorfest movies (which Lionsgate also distributes). All eight of these movies will be reviewed here at DVD Talk. If you're interested in the series, you can find a list of the titles in this collection in the Extras section of this review.

Clearly, Room 205 is one of the Ghost House Underground titles, and I found it quite enjoyable, even if the storyline seemed fairly clichéd and routine. Room 205, directed by Martin Barnewitz from a story by Jannik Tai Mosholt, comes from Denmark. It's not often that we get a Danish horror movie here in the United States, and I want to take this opportunity to again acknowledge that Lionsgate has been quite good about finding interesting international horror flicks from across the globe, and this film is no exception.

Room 205 echoes popular specter fare like The Ring and The Grudge with just a touch of Dario Argento to boot. The film's heroine, Katrine, is mourning the loss of her mentally disturbed mother and enduring a strained relationship with her father when she arrives at a dormitory in Copenhagen, where she will begin attending a university to study English. The early sequence when she arrives at the dorm and begins moving in felt similar to the set-ups of the Argento-helmed Suspiria and Phenomena. This being a horror movie, it should come as no surprise that her fellow students are not quite right in their heads, and all sorts of spooky goings-on occur. Apparently, there's a fairly demented ghost trapped in the mirrors that Katrine unintentionally releases after a night of partying and cocaine. After Katrine hooks up with Lukas - a "love 'em and leave 'em" type - and provokes the ire of Lukas's last conquest Sanne, she turns to outcast and former resident Rolf for help in figuring out why this ghost is killing off the students in this dorm. And yes, it does involve Room 205 at the dormitory.

As I stated, Room 205 doesn't exactly win a lot of points for originality. However, the movie is put together fairly well. It emphasizes character over scares and gore (though, there are some grisly and frightening moments - mostly in the second half). The acting seemed fairly competent. Neel Rønholt, who plays Katrine, is a very appealing heroine. She's attractive and also competent as an actress, and these qualities combine for a sympathetic main character. The English language dubbing is at least passable (more on this in the Sound section of the review) and the cinematography suits the ghostly happenings of the film well (more on this in the Video section of the review).

I'd definitely recommend Room 205 to fright film fans - just keep in mind that it is a little more character-oriented and ambient than the usual gory and violent fare (not that the latter isn't present, of course).

The DVD

Video:

On the back of the cover art, Lionsgate describes their video presentation of Room 205 as "16x9 Widescreen 2.35:1 DVD Screen Format." And that's exactly what you get. The image is anamorphic (and so too is the main menu). Much of this film has a very soft, slightly off focus look to it that I found appealing. However, there's major film noise visible throughout that does get distracting at times.

Sound:

I appreciated how Lionsgate provided two audio options for Room 205: the dubbed English language track and the original Danish language track are both made available via Dolby Digital 5.1. The former appears to be the default setting, which makes sense for a Region 1 release. Because of this, I opted to watch Room 205 dubbed. The vocal talent on this movie is considerably better than that on fellow Ghost House Underground title Trackman. The dialogue itself is well-mixed into the other elements of the soundtrack. Like a lot of good horror movies, Room 205 takes good advantage of sound effects, which are presented in a dynamic manner here. A fairly minimal score also enhances the spooky ambience. All in all, Room 205 has a pleasing audio presentation.

If you want to view this in the original Danish but know not a word of the language, no worries, as English and Spanish subtitle options are also provided.

Extras:

There are a couple good extras on Lionsgate's release of Room 205. Before we get to these, though, there are the standard trailers.

A somewhat excessive seven trailers precede the main menu. They are for the other seven Ghost House Underground titles: Dance of the Dead, No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker, The Substitute, Dark Floors, Trackman, The Last House in the Woods, and Brotherhood of Blood. They're also available collectively through an Also From Lionsgate link in the disc's menu system. A separate link provides access to the trailer for Room 205. It's nice to have trailers to all eight films in the Ghost House Underground collection, but it would have been even nicer to have a trailer menu with individual links to each film's trailer rather than having them lumped together like this.

A Behind the Scenes of Room 205 offers about what one would expect for a featurette of its nature. With a runtime of 22:43, it manages to get comments in from quite a few members of the cast and crew, though each person's contribution is a bit short and to-the-point. English subtitles are provided. The featurette is widescreen but not anamorphic.

Perhaps more important is the commentary track, which features the director Martin Barnewitz and Steve Biodrowski from Cinefantastique Online. A random sampling of the track suggests the two are very personable, and their discussion seems informative.

Final Thoughts:

The story is fairly routine for a contemporary ghost film, but Room 205 has an appealing heroine played by Neel Rønholt, a well-developed spooky ambience, and a few good shock scares. This one comes recommended.

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