⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Based on a J-Horror novel by Nanami Kamon, Room 203 serves up familiar tropes in a solid apartment horror flick.
Directed by Ben Jagger
What a great apartment! It’s got such a nice view and look at all the storage space. I guess the malevolent entity haunting the place will probably consume our mortal souls, but the rent is so cheap! I bet we can hide the demonic summoning runes with an area rug.The apartment horror genre, over-simplified.
It can be unsettling to think about all the people who used to live in what you now consider to be your “safe space”. Who were they? What did they do? Did they leave willingly, moving on to bigger and better things, or were they carried out feet first after some kind of horrific incident?
Case in point, the brand new film from writer/director Ben Jagger [Corbin Nash (2018)], Room 203. Adapted from a novel by Japanese author Nanami Kamon, Room 203 introduces us to Kim White [Francesca Xuereb; TV’s The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021)] and Izzy Davis [Viktoria Vinyarska; TV’s The Real Drakoolavs (2016 – 2017)]. The two BFFs have moved to the big city where Kim will be starting college for journalism and Izzy will be chasing her dream of being an actor.
But it’s not all sunshine and pancakes for the two women. Izzy is still grieving the loss of her mother while Kim is dealing with the guilt of having abandoned her friend in her time of need. Not to mention there’s something seriously wrong with their new apartment.
Room 203 isn’t the most original movie ever made. It can be lumped in with others like Apartment 1303 (2007), Apartment 143 (2011), Dark Water (2011), to name a few. It features all the traditional tropes: creepy but beautiful apartment, thoroughly sketchy landlord, things that go bump in the night, and a race against time to solve the supernatural mystery threatening the unlucky roommates.
Of course, “traditional” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s tradition for a reason, right? Room 203 bounces along at a steady pace as it sets up its characters and there is a decent amount of spookiness in a thoughtful, slow burn kind of way. And once those characters settle into the investigation phase, the mystery behind the apartment’s thirst for blood is compelling.
While not all of the dialog clicks, the two leading ladies play off of each other extremely well. They effortlessly sell the friendship-in-crisis vibe and are a pleasure to watch in every scene they share.
The third act could have been tightened up a bit more to better maintain the tension, but overall Room 203 is a solid new entry in the apartment horror sub-genre.
Room 203 will debut in selected cities on April 15, 2022, including New York City (The Kent Theater), Chicago (Emagine Chatham), Ft. Worth and Dallas (American Cinemas). The same day, Room 203 will be available nationwide on all major VOD platforms, including iTunes, Prime Video, DirecTV, Cox, Time Warner, Dish, Vudu, and Google Play.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.