Following the death of their newborn, a couple along with their young son move out of the city and into a large house in the country. While inspecting the house, the wife discovers a locked room called a “disappointments room” (a room where wealthy couples back in the day would lock up their children with abnormalities in fear of “disappointment”). Further investigation of the room leads her to madness in wanting to know what happened in the history of the house.
The Disappointments Room is quite the frustrating movie. The first half of the film plays out like a simple haunted house film, but in the mystery aspect and not so much horror. And by the final act it switches gears into a drama. There’s nothing wrong with having both elements in a film, but when the script gets confused about what kind of movie it truly wants to be, that leads to problems. It’s not a bad movie really, but it’s a badly written one. If anything, this script needed a big rewrite in order to put things in a stronger perspective. We get that the mother is grieving over her child, and then suddenly falls into the mystery of the house. This aspect works very well, but when the final act comes around the twists are revealed, it feels very much out of nowhere. It dedicates so much time to the backstory of the house, that it doesn’t devote as much time to foreshadowing of the twist, which feels almost like an afterthought. And by the end, when all is said and done, it left me frustrating in wanting to know just what exactly am I supposed to believe was really happening. Maybe this was the intent? But if it was, it didn’t work well-enough to dignify the choice. The final act in general could have used more work. They could have made it much more suspenseful, and made one particular moment involving a hammer more shocking and essentially could have made for a great and dark ending, and would have worked in its favor to make the metaphor of the story better. Hell the movie is basically just one big metaphor. Along with the unevenness of the script, it doesn’t help that it provides pointless characters. In the strongest sense it is Lucas Till’s character. He honestly served no purpose whatsoever to the story, and without giving anything away, a particular scene only added more flaws to the script. The main characters were fine (with the exception of the deadbeat husband). Kate Beckinsale played the performance of the grieving mother just fine and was actually one of the pros of the film. The character herself had random moments that felt out of character, and one scene where she has a drunken rage really felt out of nowhere (but I blame the script for this). And then finally we get a kid involved who isn’t creepy or even annoying, he was actually pretty likable. It suffers from some lame jump scares but thankfully it doesn’t get carried away with them.
In all actuality, this could have been a very good film had it been better written and thought out. It has all of the elements for a good mystery/psychological story, but it gets very much confused, and left a lot of things up in the air. Some scenes have a good amount of creepiness to them, and it is well-filmed and finely acted by Kate Beckinsale. It is a shame that they seemed to have rushed the script for this one.