ROOM 203

ROOM 203

(director/writer: Ben Jagger; screenwriters: John Poliquin, Nick Richey/novel by Nanami Kanon; cinematographer: Joel Froome; editor: J.C. Doler; music:Daniel L.K. Caldwell; cast: Francesca Xuereb (Kim White), Viktoria Vinyarska (Izzy), Eric Wiegand (Ian), Scott Gremillion (Ronan), Rick Lacour (Milton Briggs), Quinn Nehr (Tony), Sam A. Coleman (Steve), Cameron Inman (Lena), Timothy McKinney (Dr. Phillips); Runtime: 104 MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Annmarie Sairrino, Moeko Suzuki, Kat McPhee, Ben Anderson, Eric Gibson: Vertical Entertainment; 2022)

“It pays homage to J-horror films.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Writer-director Ben Jagger (“Corbin Nash”) bases his horror/mystery film on Nanami Kamon’s Japanese horror novel. He co-writes it with John Poliquin and Nick Richey. It pays homage to J-horror films.

The young female adults, Kim (Francesca Xuereb) and Izzy (Victoria Vinyarska), are lifelong friends who have recently moved into an inexpensive apartment in the big city that has a dark history they were unaware of.

Kim is studying journalism at college and Izzy is an aspiring actress with a drinking problem. Izzy, with Kim’s help, is working through trying to deal with her mother’s suicide.

The girls discover in the living room an enormous stained-glass window seemingly depicting the final battle of a holy war.

In Kim’s bedroom is a hole in the wall emitting a death-like smell. While digging around in the hole she finds a necklace with a strange pendant and puts it om.

Both roommates, after the necklace is worn, have nightmares. Kim thinks she sees a crow crawl into the hole, while Izzy in a trance-like state stares at the stained glass window. But she just brushes that incident off to sleepwalking.

Kim becomes convinced their place has dark secrets, and that they must piece the clues together found in the apartment or else someone may die.

As the relationship between the girls deteriorates, the horror tale gains momentum. In due time the girls unearth a terrifying past of disappearances, demonic rituals and possessions that tormented every former tenant of Room 203.

It’s indie film smart. The production values are solid. The acting is on the money. It does well with its slight story.