This Is a Perfect Example of a Film That Is Scary Without Showing Too Much
The Guest Room (The Room, La stanza)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 41m
Director(s): Stefano Lodovichi
Writer(s): Stefano Lodovichi (story,) Francesco Agostini (screenplay,) Filippo Gili (screenplay)
Cast: Guido Caprino, Camilla Filippi, Edoardo Pesce
Where To Watch: Available on VOD October 25, 2022
RAVING REVIEW: You cannot often build the type of constant unease and terror we get here without actually “showing the scary” I usually harp on.
TRIGGER WARNING: The film deals with the idea of suicide, and the topic isn’t covered lightly; please be aware before diving into the film.
Sure, the film isn’t perfect, the pacing is a bit off, and some character development seems to be off, but that’s picking things intentionally. I was struck by the feeling this film gave me; I expected a reasonably dry drama with some horror elements. Instead, I was thrown into one of the most intense opening scenes I remember seeing. This was the ideal spooky season addition for any lineup.
So much of the film's success is this incredible setting, and it’s not so much a “haunted house” as a home that feels “off” in the best way possible. The film takes place within this building, but while the building itself is pretty expansive, you simultaneously feel claustrophobia. The movie's ominous vibe won’t allow you to put a finger on it, but it’s still there.
A lot of the credit has to go to the writing, directing, and acting here; a movie with only one location has to rely heavily on dialogue and the interactions between characters. If you didn’t buy into what you’re seeing, it would take you out of the experience. I was reminded throughout watching how much this felt like a play at times; a lot of this was due to the set design and cinematography. While it wasn’t as in your face as DOGVILLE, you often felt like you were just an outside observer until you needed to be part of the story.
I haven’t seen any of director Stefano Lodovichi’s other films, but I’m curious now after this experience. If you’ve seen any, don’t hesitate to suggest another I should watch.
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