Back in the 19th century, institutions that catered to the mentally or physically impaired were scarce, so affluent families with such kind of individuals resorted to keeping them in a secluded part of the house to avoid being politically or socially ostracized. That particular space was called “disappointments room.”
In recent years, an American TV show featured the story of one disappointments room found in an old home bought by the Dumas family in Rhode Island. The room was up in the attic, it had a metal floor, a doorknob on one side and a deadbolt. The owner concluded that “whoever was in [that]room wasn’t getting out.”
Inspired by this story, Prison Break star Wentworth Miller wrote the script for The Disappointments Room, and it captured the interest of blockbuster director DJ Caruso. He says, “It’s one of those stories where the audience gets to follow a character and see things through her eyes.”
In this psychological thriller, Kate Beckinsale plays Dana, a woman looking for a fresh start. Together with her husband and their five-year-old son, she leaves the city life and moves into an old mansion in the countryside. The house badly needs a restoration, and it is the perfect project for Dana, an architect, to get engrossed in as she moves on from a painful past. However, she begins to have unsettling visions and dreams. While exploring their new home, she discovers a secret room, and the more she tries to unlock its mystery, the more she experiences bone-chilling episodes. Then, Dana starts to get confused if what’s happening is real or just a product of her imagination.
Beckinsale saw the project as an opportunity to explore a character at a psychological crossroads. “The central theme of this woman who isn’t sure if she is going mad or if things are really happening to her was intriguing. DJ wanted to take it in a direction where it was more than just a horror movie, which appealed to me.” She says that one of the things she likes about her character is that she’s not instantly likeable. “She has gone through trauma, but she keeps showing up for her life, and it’s a brave thing to do.”
Fans of thriller/horror movies will get quite a treat out of this movie. Caruso says, “We go to these movies because, as Hitchcock always said, we love to be scared. We project ourselves into the movie, asking, ‘If this was me, what would I do?’ Knowing that the audience is discovering this room and what is going on there as Dana unpeels the mystery makes it very interesting and, at times, horrifying.”
The Disappointments Room is the second film written by Wentworth Miller following his independent film, Stoker. The cast includes critically acclaimed English stage actor Mel Raido as the husband of Dana, and Duncan Joiner as their son.
Distributed by Viva International Pictures and MVP Entertainment, The Disappointments Room opens today in Philippine cinemas.