Kidnapping, the dark web, and death are what drives the new thrilling Horror film Red Room from Writer/Director (Stephen Gaffney: Bully 2015, Class A 2016). Solidifying its place in the realm Irish torture porn, it is a dark look into the fetishes that exist online, and it hits DVD and VOD on Tuesday, March 19th thanks to Breaking Glass Pictures.
Kyra (Amy Kelly: Good Conduct 2014, Red Rock 2015) is a young mother who decides to go out for the first time since the birth of her child. While leaving the bar alone, she is suddenly grabbed and forced into a white van by three unknown men. She awakes to find herself bound by her hands and knees in a dirty room. Kyra is not alone. She finds that the room is shared with Lilly (Sohaila Lindheim: Hairpin 2017, Make My Day 2017) and Alison (Saoirse Doyle: Crone Wood 2016, Don’t Forget Me 2016), both are also bound and being held captive. The girls do not know why they are there or what their captors are planning to do to them. All they know is they cannot escape and are haunted by others screams.
The girls are being monitored by Richard (John Dalessandro: Rosie 2018, Grainnee Uaile-The Movie 2019), whose Dad (Brian Fortune: An Irish Exorcism 2013, Game of Thrones series) runs the show from a different location. Promising to wait their turn to enter the Room, they encounter Boraro (Rodrigo Ternevoy: Fair City 2016, The Randomer 2016) before they can walk away. The girls soon learn that once they enter the Room there is no escape. They have fallen into the hands of a sadistic online business venture that caters to the more deviant of sexual fetishes. Kyra wants to fight and find a way out of her imprisonment. Innocent Alison is too afraid for her life to leave and Lilly has become jaded in her captivity and does not believe they will make it out alive. Still, the girls must try something so the Room will not be the last thing they see. Will Kyra and the others find a way out safely? Who are these people waiting to watch their demise? How far is everyone willing to go to get what they desire?
Red Room gives the viewer an idea of what kind of depraved people lurk in this world and online. Everything and everyone has a price. Why should anyone have to be worried about being taken from the street and sold to the highest bidder?
The film does not answer this question, but it does provide a start to finish look at the process of capturing prey. Fear and intimidation are important to keep the captives. The action is organic and follows just days, but sometimes because of the various characters it does seem to drag on for a bit too long to build up to the climatic torture scenes. The film score does help with the pace, though, at times it is almost a comical breaking the tension onscreen.
With any film centering around the survival of a character, the viewer needs to find a way to invest themselves in the character. It will be difficult to do this here. While Kelly’s Kyra plays the part well, there is no depth to her character. None of the characters are very deep. They simply preform tasks and go through emotions in an almost robotic way. Only the screaming and constant shaking in fear of Doyle’s Alison triggers any sort of attachment. The characters and actors are not what is important here. Blood, fear, and dominance are the only things that matter in this film. On that level everything works perfectly.
The biggest payout for Red Room is the torture scenes. Much of the film drags along to build up to it. The viewer will not be disappointed. The effects are realistic and deeply jarring. It brings up questions as to what kind of persons actually get sexual pleasure from watching others suffer. Ternevoy’s Boraro is the perfect executioner. He is not bothered by the carnage he is creating, in fact he seems to take pleasure in it as well. Like those in the business around him, there is no room for growth. This is simply who they are. What they enjoy just happens to decrease the population.
If graphic onscreen torture is exciting, then Red Room is the film to see. The story is simple and at times slow, but the pay off makes the wait worthwhile. Red Room captures the sadistically bloody side to sexual fetishes. The realistic torture scenes will make any viewer cringe, but the story itself does leave much to be desired. It is for these reasons Cryptic Rock give it 3 out of 5 stars.